Norwegian mine on fire

NORWAY’s only coal mine, the Svea Nord mine in the Arctic archepelago of Svalbard, has been flooded to quell a fire that broke out Saturday.
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Staff Reporter

The fire is believed to have started as a result of welding work on drain pipes underground. It broke out Saturday and was still burning on Wednesday.

About 25 workers were evacuated but no one was seriously injured. Emergency crews were building dams inside the shafts to lead water to the burning areas and fire-fighting equipment was flown in from Germany Sunday evening.

"It will take a couple of weeks before the water has cooled down the burning coal and probably months before the mine is ready for production," Terje Carlsen from Store Norske Spitsbergen Grubekompani told Reuters.

The mine is critical to the local economy as nearly half of the 1300 full-time jobs in Longyearbyen, Svalbard's main town, are linked to the mine.

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