Russia to elaborate Spitsbergen strategy by middle of 2008

Other News Materials 12 October 2007 21:10 (UTC +04:00)

Russia will elaborate a strategy for Spitsbergen by the middle of next year, Vice-Premier Sergei Naryshkin told Itar-Tass on Friday.

He has presided at a meeting of the governmental commission for Russian presence on Spitsbergen.

Naryshkin said they had discussed the development of engineering and social infrastructure at the Russian village Barentsburg.

"We decided to repair the houses, the heating plant, telecommunications and cable TV network," he said.

"Besides, the commission considered ways to diversify the Russian economic activity on the archipelago with fish processing, tourism and scientific research," he said.

Some 870 million rubles will be assigned for Russia's Arktikugol trust based on Spitsbergen in 2008, Naryshkin said.

About 40 million from that sum will be spent on research and development, he added.

The trust owns 23 mining allotments with the total area of 251 square kilometers, including one operating coalmine Barentsburg and two mothballed mines Grumant and Pyramid.