China may gain valuable Arctic foothold / News / The Foreigner

China may gain valuable Arctic foothold. A piece of the Norwegian Arctic is for sale with economic superpowers such as China as potential buyers, experts say. The area concerned available for purchase is Austre (eastern) Adventfjord. It would give players access to several possibilities and benefits. “China is in constant search of coal and other natural resources. And more importantly, the country could use Svalbard as a platform for a long-term plan for the Arctic Ocean by purchasing this piece of land,” Willy Østreng, former Fridtjof Nansen Institute director and incumbent Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research president told VG, Tuesday.

svalbard, china, mining, arctic



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China may gain valuable Arctic foothold

Published on Tuesday, 29th April, 2014 at 14:57 under the news category, by Emma Åsberg.
Last Updated on 29th April 2014 at 18:40.

A piece of the Norwegian Arctic is for sale with economic superpowers such as China as potential buyers, experts say.

Spitsbergen
Adventfjorden lies on the southern side of Isfjorden on Spitsbergen's west coast.Spitsbergen
Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The area concerned available for purchase is Austre (eastern) Adventfjord. It would give players access to several possibilities and benefits.

“China is in constant search of coal and other natural resources. And more importantly, the country could use Svalbard as a platform for a long-term plan for the Arctic Ocean by purchasing this piece of land,” Willy Østreng, former Fridtjof Nansen Institute director and incumbent Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research president told VG, Tuesday.

“China or other non-Arctic states could gain a foothold in the region that they don’t have today via this [Arctic] Treaty property.”

The land includes the abandoned mining community Hiorthhamn and Operafjellet, and is now a popular recreational are for the inhabitants of the Arctic Archipelago. China already has a research base at Ny-Ålesund.

Mining is a contentious issue at these global warming times. Environment-engaged Miljøpartiet De Grønne has called for closing mining operations there, reported regional publication Svalbardsposten. Svalbard’s Arctic ecology is fragile.

The Horn family, comprising  industrialist, investor, and farmer Henning Horn, (64), his sisters Elin Horn Galtung (68) and Karin Horn (66), and Johan Jacob Horn, their deceased brother’s heir, currently own the property.

Willy Østreng is one of several voices having expressed their surprise that the Norway has not offered to buy the land from them.

“I’m amazed that the Norwegian government does not want to buy, unless the price is sky-high,” he remarked to VG. “It isn’t wise to allow this property to be available on the open market.”

“Svalbard has never been the government’s greatest economic project either. Control is the most important aspect from a Norwegian perspective.”

North Energy Chairman of the Board Johan Petter Barlindhaug is concerned that the Norwegian government might lose out by not purchasing it.

“Norway should secure the land, both to safeguard Norwegian interests on Svalbard and to avoid the property being used to create more tension in the archipelago,” he commented.

Norway owns 99.2 per cent of Svalbard.




Published on Tuesday, 29th April, 2014 at 14:57 under the news category, by Emma Åsberg.
Last updated on 29th April 2014 at 18:40.

This post has the following tags: svalbard, china, mining, arctic.





  
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