3.8 per cent fewer man-years in 2016 on Svalbard

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3.8 per cent fewer man-years in 2016 on Svalbard

The number of man-years in Svalbard fell by 3.8 per cent in 2016. It was especially the reduced activity within coal mining that contributed to the decline.


The total number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) fell from about 1650 to 1590 man-years in 2016, according to Industry statistics for Svalbard. This decline of 3.8 percent was mainly due to less activity at Store Norske where over 40 percent of the man-years vanished.

As a result of falling coal prices, it was decided to introduce operational breaks in the Svea Nord mine from April 2016. This led to a significant downsizing of the company. Some employees were transferred to Mine 7, which as of now is the only mine in operation in the upcoming period.

Unstable coal prices

The year 2016 was characterized by fluctuating coal prices. In the first part of 2016 there was a surplus of coal in the European market which led to low spot prices. However, changes in the market situation in the spring led to growth in coal prices. The international coal price index varied in 2016 between USD 42 to USD 97.

The decline in activity in coal mining seems to have effects on its goods and services suppliers, such as construction, which had a decrease of 12 per cent in full-time equivalents. At the same time, growth in other industries, such as arts, entertainment and recreation, as well as administrative and support services, have seen significant growth, which limits the overall decline in man-years.

Other industries take over

The importance of the different industries on Svalbard has changed significantly in the period 2008 to 2016. While mining and quarrying reached its lowest level in man-years since 2008, accommodation and food services have surpassed the number of man-years in the mining business with a good margin. Another industry that shows increased activity during the period is arts, entertainment and recreation. This industry includes companies appearing after the increasing demand for adventure activities.

New businesses have established themselves within real estate activities as well as administrative and support services. These industries showed growth in both turnover and man-years from 2015 to 2016.


Source: SSB / Norway Today