SNSG’s principal operations are in the Svea Nord mine, which is about 60 kilometers south of Longyearbyen. Most of the company’s employees work in Svea. Svea Nord has been in normal commercial operation since 2002 and accounts for most of the company’s production. Annual production in 2011 was about 1.4 million tons of coal.
There is no road connection between Longyearbyen and Svea. All transport of personnel is done by plane. This has given rise to the creation of an extensive infrastructure, including canteen, accommodation units, airfield, roads, water supply, power plant and port facilities at Svea.
There have been mining operations at Svea since 1917, when the Swedish company AB Spetsbergens Svenska Kolfält established the Svea mine at the innermost end of the Van Mijen fjord. Store Norske bought Svea from the Swedes in 1932, since when there has been mining at Svea at irregular intervals, with only a guard force present during some periods. The Svea Vest mine was depleted and closed in 2000.
In the summer of 2005, there was a fire in the Svea Nord mine. The work of extinguishing the fire and preparing for a new start-up of mining operations took over eight months. No-one was injured in the fire.