ANNA FILIPOVA

http://anfilip.com/


 
 
 

Anna Filipova is an independent reportage photographer and researcher. 

She is working on long-term projects that focus on environmental and social issues.

 
 

The Northernmost coal mines in the world

Svalbard is cold, dark and isolated island. Norway and Russia are the only

two nations with settlements there. It was the coal mining that
established communities in Svalbard during the 1920s and nowadays still
remains the main industry.
The mines in Svalbard archipelago, situated just under the North Pole are
the northernmost in the world. Its location means that the mines operators
have to deal with some unusual weather conditions; the summer months give
24 hour daylight, whilst the winter - are in total darkness and
temperatures can plummet to -40°C.

Currently there are two mining companies that operates in Svalbard (a
Norwegian and a Russian one). Until recently, all settlements in
Spitsbergen were company towns, but this is starting to change in the
Norwegian part, where can be seen the normalisation of the society.

The two Russian outposts, are still run as a private company towns by the
Russian mine. This means virtually that the entire population is employed
by the mine. In many ways the company controls their populations (who
lives there, what work they do, what goods they can purchase). One could
say, it is a place trapped in the past, not much has changed there since
the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Being a community traditionally based on mining, Svalbard is still a male
dominated society. Nowadays most of Svalbard residents are transient, and
only very few have local ties going back. After all Svalbard is more or
less a workplace.