Important dates in Store Norske’s history
Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani AS was formed in November 1916, when the company took over coal mining operations in Longyearbyen after the US-owned Arctic Coal Company headed by John Munroe Longyear. Since then, Store Norske has operated coal mines on Svalbard continually with the exception of a period during World War II, when the inhabitants of Longyearbyen were evacuated to Scotland.
The “Stars and Stripes” are lowered and engineer Sigurd Westby hoists the Norwegian flag in Longyear City on 15 July. Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani Aktieselskap is formed at a statutory general meeting in Oslo on 30 November.
1920: Coal dust explosion in the Gruve 1 mine on 3 January. 26 people are killed.
1921: The storage facility at Hotellneset comes into operation.
1922: The loading plant at Hotellneset comes into operation.
1925: Norway assumes sovereignty of Svalbard on 14 August. The day is marked at Skjæringa in Longyearbyen.
|The Norwegian flag is hoisted in Longyearbyen when Norway assumes sovereignty of Svalbard in August 1925.|
1933: Agreement with the Norwegian State, according to which the State appoints two of the five members of the board.
1934: Agreement with the Norwegian State to purchase the Svea mine.
1938: The general meeting passes the motion to develop the Gruve 1 mine with the settlement later called Sverdrupbyen.
1941: The inhabitants of Longyearbyen are evacuated to Scotland on 2 September.
|The population of Longyearbyen were evacuated by allied warships on 2 September 1941.|
1943: The battleship Scharnhorst and two German destroyers attack Longyearbyen on 8 September. The town is destroyed, but in Sverdrupbyen the Gruve 1 mine and most of the settlement are untouched by the attack.
1944: Svea is burned to the ground by German U-boat personnel.
1946: Nybyen is built.
1947: A staff canteen, office, hospital and three family dwellings are completed at Haugen.
1948: The large staff canteen is opened and the first number of the Svalbardposten newspaper is published.
1949: Operations at Svea are suspended in July. At the end of October, the vessels Don and Ingertre capsize on the north side of the mouth of the Isfjord. No lives are lost.
1952: Explosion in the Gruve 2 mine in January. Six people are killed.
1953: Store Norske's head office is moved from Oslo to Bergen. Landslide at Haugen on 11 June. Three people are killed and several buildings destroyed. AS Sundt & Co take over the shop.
1954: A preparation plant at Hotellneset comes into operation.
1959: Gruve 5 mine in operation (King Olav V Mine).
|Miners on the way up to the Gruve 5 mine in Endalen outside Longyearbyen.|
1964: The preparation plant comes into operation.
1966: Surveying in the Gruve 7 mine begins.
“Parliamentary Bill No. 51 (1967/68): Future Norwegian activity on Svalbard”. A grant of NOK 32 million is awarded to the Gruve 6 mine.
Establishment of a direct telex link between the head office in Bergen and the mining office in Longyearbyen. On 31 July, the coalship M/S Wenny capsizes north of Andøya, with the loss of nine lives. The Gruve 6 mine is opened for production.
1970: The Norwegian State takes over the running of the school. Surveys at Svea Øst begin.
1971: The Gruve 3 mine is opened for production. The local Svalbard Council is established by Royal Decree.
“Parliamentary Bill No. 79 (1972-73): The Government's commitment to continued mining operations on Svalbard”.
1976: The Storting grants funds for a government takeover of the privately owned shares in the company.
“Parliamentary Bill No. 144 (1976-77) concerning mining operations on Svalbard”.
At the request of Norges Bank, the company ceases production of its own “betalingsmerke” (wage voucher, also known as Spitsbergen money).
|Spitsbergen money was common currency in Longyearbyen from 1916 to 1980.|
1982: The Norwegian State takes over the hospital and health service. Svalbard is connected to the national and international long-distance dialling telephone network.
1983: A new power station in Longyearbyen is opened. Store Norske's office in Bergen is closed down.
1984: The branch office in Harstad is closed down. Parliamentary Bill No. 46 concerning the development of the Svea mine (middle alternative) and the Framework Plan for Longyearbyen 1985-89.
1985: Norsk Hydro and Store Norske sign a cooperation agreement for exploration and possible extraction of natural resources.
1987: Parliamentary Bill No. 61 on Store Norske: The Storting resolves to suspend operations at Svea and to reorganise the company.
1989: Store Norske spins off two subsidiaries as of 1 January: Svalbard Samfunnsdrift AS and Svalbard Næringsutvikling AS. A separate company, Spitsbergen Travel AS, is formed with responsibility for tourism, accommodation and catering. The commercial property company Svalbard Næringsbygg AS is also established.
1993: Store Norske sells the subsidiaries Svalbard Samfunnsdrift AS and Svalbard Næringsutvikling AS to the Government, represented by the Ministry of Industry and Energy, for NOK 110 million.
1996: The seam in the Gruve 3 mine is exhausted and operations cease on 2 November.
1999: In the revised national budget in 1999, Parliamentary Bill No. 67 for 1999, the Storting decides to grant funds to fully finance the mining surveys at Svea Nord. Opening works at Svea Nord are initiated.
|Industry Minister Lars Sponheim (right) and Governor Morten Ruud are shown round by Mining Manager Finn Lundgren at Høgnes in Svea in the summer of 1999.|
2000: Svea Vest is depleted and operations cease on 30 November.
2001: In December, the Storting decides that there will be permanent operations at Svea Nord.
2002: For the first year since the beginning of the 1970s, coal mining operations make a profit.
2004: The 5.6km transport tunnel from Svea Nord to Svea is opened by Industry Minister Børge Brende.
2005: Fire breaks out in the main gallery in Svea Nord on 30 July. A major effort to put out the fire and re-open the mine goes on for the rest of the year.
|Members of Store Norske’s own mine rescue team on their way into Svea Nord.|
2006: Production in Svea Nord starts up again at the end of April after the fire.
2007: A record year for Store Norske: 542 241 tonnes of coal are produced in October, and total annual production hits 4 073 345 tonnes.
2008: For the first time, sales exceed NOK 3 billion. Annual profit is NOK 881 million, owing to the high price of coal. Hålogaland Court of Appeal pronounces judgment in the action for damages brought following the mine fire.
2010: In June, the Board of Directors of Store Norske approves the business plan for the new mine in Lunckefjell, northeast of Svea.
2011: In December, the Ministry of Environmental Affairs grants the permit for the Lunckefjell project.
2014: The new mine in Lunckefjell is opened.
Since 1916, the company has produced 55 053 230 tonnes of coal.