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An update: Our extraordinary explorations in Norway

At the recent MINEX Europe 2020 forum, SRK Exploration Services, as our geologist partners, gave a presentation on the status of our investigations into minerals and metals in Norway.

Two months after SRK started drilling at our Bjerkreim site in Rogaland county, southern Norway, we have further updates from their experts on the ground there. As a reminder, we are investigating titanium, phosphate and vanadium in this area, where we currently have 47 licences.

The geology

The Bjerkreim-Sokndal intrusion is the largest of its kind in Europe – covering more than 400 kilometres² – and it’s layered. We currently know of five layered structures and counting, at least four of which are prospective for ilmenite (titanium), apatite (phosphate) and magnetite (vanadium). Where all three occur together, they form at least 30 per cent of the rock mass. According to Jon Russill, SRK’s Principal Exploration Geologist, there is ‘remarkable strike continuity in the mineralised zones over many kilometres, appearing as a banded texture, with the darkest bands having the highest concentrations of economic minerals.’

Historical work

Previously, the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) and other academic institutions had identified three mineralised zones where ilmenite, apatite and magnetite were working together, giving SRK prior knowledge that it’s since been validating. This has been the focus of their work so far, as well as identifying new targets – with the help of mineral processing test and geophysics. So far, SRK is confident that the grades are ‘consistent’, while the vanadium grades are ‘significantly higher’ than previously thought.

Environmental, Social & Governance

SRK has described us as ‘innovative and forward-thinking’ in our approach, and we believe our investigations will contribute greatly to Norway’s future. ESG has always been at the forefront of our work; there is a balancing act of land ownership and areas of habitation vis-à-vis exploration potential that we take very seriously. However, in the words Jon Russill, ‘Norway will have a very long mining history if these deposits are shown to be economic. We will work alongside the local community in developing this {project} – making sure it benefits society as a whole in this area.’

Community engagement

Our priority is to operate in collaboration with local neighbourhoods to minimise any environmental or social impact, while simultaneously boosting the local economy – and creating a more sustainable future for all. To help us do this, SRK has created a new, interactive stakeholder system specifically for this project called ‘SRK Engage’. This allows people in the community to continuously monitor progress and submit any queries or grievances along the way – that can be immediately addressed and resolved.

A strategic project for Norway

SRK managed to remobilise our project in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are hugely proud – as they are – of that achievement. Drilling began in May, with three rigs now up and running and a fourth starting imminently. The first phase involves drilling for resources, targeting the three main layers of mineralisation. Then comes reconnaissance to investigate the different grades, including drilling a bore hole 2,000 metres long.

For SRK’s geologists, and for us at Norge Mining, the strategic importance of our investigations cannot be understated. As Jon Russill states: ‘This a strategic project for Norway. Two resources are considered Critical Raw Materials: apatite is important for fertiliser production and vanadium will have an increasingly important role in the greening of the economy, in particular, in terms of large-scale battery production. We think it’s genuinely got very interesting features.’

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