Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

The shift from coal at the top of the world

A Norwegian chain of islands near the North Pole is trying to promote new technologies, tourism and scientific research in a shift from high-polluting coal mining that has been a backbone of the remote economy for decades. Part of the answer for about 2,200 inhabitants may be to boost science: in Ny-Alesund, the world's most northerly permanent non-military settlement, scientists from 11 nations including Norway, Germany, France, Britain, India and South Korea study issues such as climate change.

1 of 10

An old locomotive train that was used for transporting coal is preserved as a monument at Ny-Alesund, in Svalbard. Norway suspended most coal mining on the Svalbard archipelago last year because of the high costs, and is looking for alternative jobs for about 2,200 inhabitants on islands where polar bears roam in a shift from coal mining that has been a backbone of the remote economy for decades.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

2 of 10

Workers housing of Longyerbyean, Svalbard. A Norwegian chain of islands is trying to promote new technologies, tourism and scientific research.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

3 of 10

Radar dish and antennas systems are seen at the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association facility on Breinosa, Svalbard.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

4 of 10

A bust of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is seen at the scientific base of Ny Alesund, the world's most northerly permanent non-military settlement

Anna Filipova/Reuters

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 10

Dogs, some that are family pets and others that are used for dog sledges, are seen waiting in their yard outside the settlement in Longyerbyean, Svalbard, Norway.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

6 of 10

Breinosa is seen from the research Zeppelin Observatory that is operated the Norwegian Polar Institute and Norwegian Institute for Air Research in Svalbard in Norway.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

7 of 10

The northernmost non-military post office in the world in the Kings Bay research station in Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, Norway.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

8 of 10

Warehouses and the old part of the Ny-Alesund, Norway settlement from the coal mining period which closed in 1963.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

9 of 10

A weather station is seen in Ny Alesund, one of the most northerly settlements in the world, a base for international scientists, Svalbard.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

10 of 10

Dawn at the scientific base of Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, Norway.

Anna Filipova/Reuters

Report an error
Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.