Mining Relics - Svalbard - 2 - Hut - Blomstrandhalv°ya

Svalbard / Spitsbergen pictures, travel in the Arctic

Camp Mansfield, a mining operation of the English Northern Exploration Company (NEC) named after Ernest Mansfield one of the leading figures in the company. This mine at Blomstrandhalv°ya, Kongsfjord, Svalbard was opened to extract marble following its discovery in 1906, a place known to Mansfield as "marble Island". The marble was initially thought to be of the finest quality a rival to that from Carrara in Italy.

In 1911 Mansfield described the area in a company report:

    The Island has not yet been accurately measured, but it is at least 4 X 4 milesŚan area of I6 sq. miles. Two miles away there are three smaller marble islands, the largest being about 600 acres; the other two comprise about 1,000 acres. The marble in these lesser islands is quite distinct in varieties from the main deposit, and is also considered by experts to be of high decorative and financial value. There is enough marble in these islands to supply the world for all time.
Though a great deal of money was spent from investors on the enterprise, the marble was found to be worthless. Initially when quarried in the cold, damp air of a Svalbard summer it seemed of good quality, once it started to be be shipped out and warmed up and dried out, it began to flake and crumble. Mansfield was removed from the NEC in 1913, the camp and some of its machinery remain in relatively good condition over a hundred years later.

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