Jennifer Kingsley
June 16, 2015

(Post 3 of 4)

This tunnel leads into the mine where the coal seams are between 120 and 160 cm high, so the men spend each day bent low. “The worst in the beginning is the knees,” says Joachim Myhrvang, “Then you get used to it – like everything else.” The mining method here is called fishbone, which takes about 70% of the coal but decreases the risk of collapse. “Safety in the mine costs a lot of money,” he says, “If the goal is no injuries then it’s more expensive to take out the coal.” The last time any miner lost a day of work due to injury in Mine 7 was 2008.

Joachim has been working the mine for four years, and he admits the future is very uncertain. On mining in Longyearbyen: “It’s like any other job; it’s not that special anymore. Tourism is up and now mining is an insecure job. We don’t know how long they want to keep up the mining. There are guys here with family and kids. For sure we think about it.”

Joachim Myhrvang at the mine opening