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Mining & ‘Green’ Investing is not a paradox

BY JOHN VERGOPOULOS
CEO OF NORGE MINING

A debate rumbles as to whether investors can be truly ‘green’ if they choose to put their money in mining. And yet, Norge Mining has really struck a chord with these types of investors already; our sustainable credentials have been a great driver of interest so far.

Profitability will always be of paramount consideration. And yet, I’ve noticed the environmental aspect of investing becoming more and more pressing by the day, while the unequivocal role of mining in creating a greener future cannot be denied. With this in mind, mining and green investing is not always a paradox; in certain scenarios they can sit side-by-side and become a powerful force that contributes to a lower-carbon future.

q itself has had a chequered past; it would be wrong to shy away from that. In some parts of the world, where certain materials are mined, practices are still unethical – with a huge cost to both the environment and local people. That does need to change and I’ve noticed a clear downturn in investing in so-called ‘dirty assets’ as they’re increasingly shunned.

Cleaning up mining’s act and making the industry less environmentally damaging was a key focus of the recent African Mining Indaba in Cape Town (February 2020). And there is a new breed of sensitive mining emerging, where innovative technology is allowing for far less impact to the land, the surrounding eco-systems and local communities. Norge Mining is proud to be a part of that new breed, as we investigate minerals and metals in Norway – such as vanadium and phosphorus. Importantly, these both have the potential to make the world greener and they can only be found in the ground.

We are using the very latest aerial magnetic surveying and pioneering lab testing, so we can pinpoint exactly where the deposits of vital minerals are – meaning as minimal disruption as possible. In due course, we will certainly be looking to renewable energies to power our operations. We’ve also been meeting with community groups every step of the way, and with Norway’s Green Party and environmental NGO, Bellona. All parties are on board with our plans. And that’s because they understand how important our investigations are to creating a more sustainable future. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is intrinsic to our mission, vision and beliefs and will continue to be a strategic objective of ours as we carry out our investigations in Norway. We would never rush ahead for profitability’s sake.

Let’s take a look at the minerals and metals that have been discovered in Norway. Vanadium and phosphorus are vital to Europe and the world. Phosphorus can be used to create fertilisers that are more environmentally friendly. Since the 1950s, the Earth’s population has grown from about 2.5 billion to 7.7 billion. The fear is, that if we focus on the environment instead of crop size, there won’t be enough food to feed us all. Experts believe that phosphates are the answer to this conundrum, as long as they are used efficiently. However, phosphorus is currently on the European Union’s Critical Raw Materials list. That means it is economically and strategically important for the European economy, but has a high risk associated with its supply. According to our investigations so far, Norway is sitting on a large untapped reserve of phosphorus – and we are liaising with the EU about the powerful panacea we may have on our doorstep.

And then there’s vanadium and the significant role it can play in energy storage – as we look to renewables to fuel our future. Currently most vanadium output is used in China for steel applications. But that is set to change dramatically over the next few years, as the world cottons on to the real potential the metal holds in its energy storage capabilities (in the form of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries). Compared to lithium-ion batteries, VFRBs have much higher capacity and much longer life spans. I anticipate grid suppliers queuing up to secure available vanadium supply soon. And yet, vanadium is also an EU Critical Raw Material. Our untapped deposits in Norway again may provide the answer to a more sustainable future. They are economically pivotal too, with at least 30 million jobs depending on the availability of raw materials.

Our investigations so far are extremely positive. We have identified valuable minerals and metals to a depth of 4.5 kilometres. All can be separated and are better quality than predicted. To be on the cusp of sourcing vital materials needed to tackle the ravaging effects of climate change is exciting. Mining and green investing may be suitable partners, after all.

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The Annexe, The Gables, Potters Green, Ware,
Herfordshire, SGI2 0JU United Kingdom
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