By Chris King •
Updated: 29 Jan 2023 • 4:08
Image of the Norwegian Sea.
Credit: Wikipedia - By Finn Rindahl - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4236653
Norwegian officials revealed on Friday, January 27, that a large discovery of rare earth metals had been made on the seabed of its extended continental shelf. They confirmed that the find included ‘substantial’ levels of minerals and metals, as reported by Sky News.
The rare earth elements of neodymium and dysprosium are used in the manufacture of parts for items including electric car batteries and wind turbines. Also found were deposits of cobalt, niobium, and magnesium, which are included on the European list of critical minerals.
An estimated 38 million tonnes of copper were also located on the seabed said the officials. This amounts to twice the annual total mined globally. Almost 45 million tonnes of zinc in polymetallic sulphides were also discovered.
“For several of the metals, the mineral resources are sufficient to cover many years of global consumption. The transition to a low-emission society enhances the need for specific elements”, said a spokesperson for the Stavanger-based Norwegian Petroleum Directorate which was responsible for conducting the research that led to the incredible find.
Norway is already one of the world’s leading exporters of gas and oil. This latest discovery means that a decision will have to be taken – which requires the approval of parliament – on opening up the offshore areas to deep-sea miners.
According to environmental campaigners from Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, opening up the seas to miners could be a decision with a great environmental cost. In a consultation letter, they insisted that more tests needed to be carried out to first establish the impact this mining could have on the organisms living on the sea bed.
Despite the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s reported estimates of mineral levels, tests should be carried out to determine exactly how much can be mined within the acceptable environmental levels the Institute added.
Norway’s discovery reportedly spurred Russian President Vladimir Putin into action. Only a few hours after the announcement was made, it was revealed by the Kremlin that a security council meeting had been held. Its members apparently discussed the current borders and boundaries of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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