Friday, June 9, 2023

"Norway seeks to open vast ocean area to deep-sea mining"

This is not a surprise, and certainly not to the Russians:

...Russia planted a flag on the seabed at the North Pole
They were promptly reminded it was no longer the 16th century and things were done differently these days....

From the Financial Times, June 9:

Country could become first to extract battery metals from its ocean floor

Norway’s government is readying plans to open an area of ocean nearly the size of Germany to deep-sea mining as it seeks to become the first country to extract battery metals from its sea floor.

The country’s energy ministry is racing to submit to parliament in the next two weeks a proposal to open the vast area to applications for exploration and extraction. The plan would then face a parliamentary vote in autumn.

But Oslo faces a battle with fishing businesses and environmentalists over the proposals, and risks opening a dispute with other nations as it pushes to enable mining close to Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic. Norway argues it commands exclusive mining rights over a larger area of water there than Russia, the UK and the EU contend it does.

Volcanic springs up to 4,000m deep that surge from the Earth’s crust on faultlines between tectonic plates in the proposed area contain an estimated 38mn tonnes of copper, more than is mined around the world each year.

Amund Vik, state secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, told the Financial Times that deep-sea mining would help Europe meet the “desperate need for more minerals, rare earth materials to make the transition happen”. The government would take a “precautionary approach” on environmental issues, he added.

The fluid that emerges from hydrothermal vents such as those in Norway’s waters also contains other metals used in electric car batteries, including cobalt. Metallic seabed crusts can meanwhile be mined for rare earth metals such as neodymium and dysprosium. These are used to make the magnets in wind turbines and in the engines of electric vehicles, but their supply chain is largely controlled by China.

Of the region earmarked for potential mining, the most contentious part would be the area close to Svalbard. The Svalbard Treaty, which gives Norway sovereignty over the islands, also gives other countries the right to mine on land and in the territorial waters around the archipelago. Russia, the EU and the UK are at odds with Norway over how large an area of water this treaty covers.

Fishing operations are meanwhile concerned that pollution from the mining may taint their catch. Jane Sandell, chief executive of UK Fisheries — whose super trawler Kirkella is one of the last UK fishing vessels to operate so far north — said she was “deeply concerned” about the possibility of toxic heavy metal particles being released....


"Norway finds 'substantial' mineral resources on its seabed"
(oops, sorry, I was asked to limit my use of "duh" as it may offend those people easily offended by Valley Girl style condescension)....

....Dad, what's a Valley Girl?

Ahem. Recently on Black Smokers:

And previously on seafloor mapping and Norway's plan for world domination:
August 2018
"Norway to Map Deep Sea Mineral Deposits"
September 2019
Norway's Petroleum Directorate Completes Second Seabed MINERALS Expedition
August 2020
"The rush to claim an undersea mountain range"
August 2020
The Most Detailed Map of The Arctic Seabed Has Been Published
January 2021
"Norway eyeing deep-sea metal mining future instead of oil"

Gotta keep an eye on the blue-eyed Arabs of the North. Here's their claim for a hunk of freakin' Antarctica, from the Daily Mail's This is London:
(Does anyone else see Mickey Mouse?)

Antarctica graphic