The company is also responsible for administering Bjørnøen AS, a government enterprise that owns the entire island of Bjørnøya (Bear Island). In the summer the company also handles cruise ships that arrive at Ny-Ålesund.
It was in 1916 that the company was founded, as Kings Bay Kull Company with the intention of operating a coal mine. It was later nationalized, and in 1962 the mine closed in the context of a political crisis in Norway known as the Kings Bay Affair. A research facility was subsequently set up in at Ny-Ålesund, to be run by the company.