Longyearbyen

Fishbone mining

Fishbone mining

Remembering: This is how you remove the coal from the mountain. It’s like fishbones. Tunnel your way in along the spine and pick the ribs all the way out. Dark. Strong. Bent double. Part of the history – unsure of the future. Welcome to Norwegian coal mining at 78 degrees north, Svalbard style. Photo Eric…

Longyearbyen, coal mining and the men’s choir

Longyearbyen, coal mining and the men’s choir

(Post 1 of 6) Elisabeth Larsen led Eric and I to one of the most magical musical experiences we’ve ever had, and we met her outside the office of the local coal mining company, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani. Longyearbyen is home to the only coal-burning power plant in Norway. It’s just outside Elisabeth’s office. The…

(Post 2 of 6) Look at these happy gents and welcome to the Store Norske Mandskor’s annual concert. This is the local men’s choir, named after the mining company, and Eric and I have rarely seen such a combination of skill and heart, and it left me bursting with joy From stirring harmonies about mining…

(Post 3 of 6) Meet Espen Rotevatn – conductor, music teacher, former church organist and the leader of the newly established Green Party on Svalbard. He’s wearing a few layers because the show took place in an abandoned and unheated mine building that you can see from everywhere in town. Espen opposes mining, but he…