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Svalbard: Economy#

Tourism and international research are Svalbard's major revenue sources. Coal mining has historically been the dominant economic activity, and a treaty of 9 February 1920 gave the 41 signatories equal rights to exploit mineral deposits, subject to Norwegian regulation. Although US, UK, Dutch, and Swedish coal companies have mined in the past, the only companies still engaging in this are Norwegian and Russian. Low coal prices have forced the Norwegian coal company, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani, to close one of its two mines and to considerably reduce the activity of the other. Since the 1990s, the tourism and hospitality industry has grown rapidly, and Svalbard now receives 60,000 visitors annually.

The settlements on Svalbard were established as company towns, and at their height in the 1950s, the Norwegian state-owned coal company supported around 1,000 jobs. Today, around 300 people work in the mining industry.

Goods such as alcohol, tobacco, and vehicles, normally highly taxed on mainland Norway, are considerably cheaper in Svalbard in an effort by the Norwegian government to entice more people to live on the Arctic archipelago. By law, Norway collects only enough taxes to pay for the needs of the local government; none of tax proceeds go to the central government.

Economic Facts#

GDP - real growth rateNA%
Labor force1,590 (2013)
Budgetrevenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Taxes and other revenuesNA% of GDP
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)NA% of GDP
Exchange ratesNorwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar -
8.615 (2016 est.)
8.0646 (2015 est.)
6.3021 (2014 est.)
6.3021 (2013 est.)
5.82 (2012 est.)