Norway Discovers Abundance of Costly Rare Earths on Its Seabed

Hammerfest, northern NorwayInternationalIndiaAfricaWhile rare earths are in high demand due to the role they play in the transition to a greener economy, none are mined in Europe as of now, leaving the continent dependent on imports in a market dominated by China.A study by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has identified a “substantial” amount of seabed minerals and metals, ranging from copper to precious rare earths. “Of the metals found on the seabed in the study area, magnesium, niobium, cobalt and rare earth minerals are found on the European Commission’s list of critical minerals,” the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said in a statement.These resources are in high demand due to the role they play in the aspired transition to a greener economy.”Costly, rare minerals such as neodymium and dysprosium are extremely important for magnets in wind turbines and the engines in electric vehicles,” the Petroleum Directorate added.The resources estimate of remote areas in the Norwegian Sea and Greenland Sea specified some 38 million tons of copper (nearly twice the volume mined worldwide each year), and 45 million tons of zinc accumulated in polymetallic compounds. Furthermore, it also featured about 24 million tons of magnesium, 3.1 million tons of cobalt and 1.7 million tons of cerium, a rare earth element used in alloys. The findings also feature other rare earths, such as neodymium, yttrium and dysprosium, yet in smaller quantities.Energy Crisis in EuropeNorway Awards Dozens of Oil and Gas Drilling Permits as Oslo Eyes Record Output11 January, 05:14 GMTThe Nordic country, a major oil and gas exporter, is now pondering whether to open its offshore areas to deep-sea mining. Environmental groups have urged the authorities to postpone its seabed exploits until more studies detail the impact of mining on the fragile ecosystems. Among others, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research emphasized a “great lack of knowledge” of deep oceans, citing the potential of finding new and undiscovered species.Global regulations for the emergent deep-sea industry are to be announced by the International Seabed Authority. Previously, numerous researchers have warned of potentially irreversible harm to the environment.Earlier in January, Swedish mining giant LKAB announced that it had found Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth oxides near the town of Kiruna in the country’s far north. The company touted the find as “good news not only for LKAB, the region and the Swedish people, but also for Europe and the climate.”Currently, no rare earths are mined in Europe, which leaves it dependent on imports in a market dominated by China.

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