Malthus in Svalbard (Spitsbergen)
The mining operation in the Svea Mine started in 1917. "Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani" took over the operations in 1934, and they have kept the wheels turning since then.
We have worked in conditions down to -75 degrees Celsius, effective temperature. Skilled workmen that keep their productivity up under such conditions is a precondtion for success.
Knowledge of the limitations on materials and tools i this climate is essential. Experience of which machine tools that can operate in this climate is decisive, as it is very hard to replace broken equipment.
A simple item like an extension cord can become useless if you choose the wrong type, or if you don't use it correctly.
From December till June, the Van Mijen fjord is frozen over, and airplane is the only connection to the rest of the world. Detailed planning of logistics and work is necessary to be able to work under these circumstances.
Large parts of the building mass in Svea are old and worn, and do not meet today's requirements. The need for renovation was announced in the autumn of 2006, and soon thereafter we were awarded our first project in Svea. Malthus delivered the first apartment building to Svea during the winter months January - March 2007. In spite of weather challenges, winter darkness and challenging logistics, we succeeded in assembling the building in the toughest period of the year. The project was completed according to the progress plan and budget.
"Store Norske Spitsbergen" mining company was so satisfied with the quality, work method and building process that we soon got our second project from them.
This was an upgrading of a modular canteen / industrial kitchen from 1972. The existing modules still retained their qualities despite 35 years of use in extreme conditions.
Therefore, we upgraded the existing modules instead of supplying new ones. The 60 modules were re-insulated, windows were changed and interior surfaces were replaced.
The renovation was conducted while the kitchen was in continuous operation, without disrupting the activities in the building. Also this time, the work was completed within the budget, and 1 month before schedule.
In the autumn of 2008, we started the next big apartment project of the same type as we delivered in 2007. The work is going on right now, and everything is on schedule.
In co-operation with "Store Norske Spitsbergen Gruvekompani" we are already considering another project in Svea.
For Malthus, the projects in Svea have been very important to develop and test work methods, tools and equipment in the most extreme conditions imagineable.
Challenges of permafrost, water and drainage demand solutions that must be tested over time. We have assured that our modular buildings can withstand extreme arctic conditions.
In an isolated society like Svea, quality, comfort and activity is decisive for people to thrive.
The northernmost bouldering room in the world, delivered by Malthus is a contribution to that end!