“It was fascinating to see how a fully functional rig could be packed down in one day into small boxes and then moved to another place. This was about only 80 metres away, but there aren’t any roads accessing the area. After they had removed the rig, it was impossible to see that they had done any drilling there. It was nice to see how little imprint there was on the landscape. I know people that live close to the area, so this was important to me. Having said that, most of them are positive about having a new industry that may provide local jobs in the future.”
This is a description by Maja Jaeger, a geology student at the University of Bergen in western Norway, of just some of the highlights of her recent internships with Norge Mining’s exploratory team. Including, as she alluded to, witnessing a heli-rig in action and time analysising rocks with geologists in the core shed.
Core shed experience
“Within just one week as an intern with Norge Mining I was introduced to a lot of new things,” explains Maja. “At the start, I read up a lot on the local geology and the company itself. Then I joined geologists in the core shed. I had never heard of a ‘core shed’ before. It’s a big outside room, where the rock that is drilled is analysed; hundreds of metres of it. I was taught how to measure and mark up the core. I found that very exciting. You would do the magnet test on the rocks to see if they contained magnetite. There’s also a machine called an XRF – X-ray fluorescence spectrometer – that’s a very precise way of seeing that the rock consists of. If there was a high concentration of phosphate, for example, you can see it. And that was very intriguing to me.”
For Maja, as well as feeling very welcome, she was able to see first hand the various different roles involved in the exploration of Norway’s EU Critical Raw Materials – vanadium, titanium and phosphate.
“I felt very included in the team. It was never a problem to ask for help. And it turns out that there are a lot of different opportunities within the small field of geology. That was great to see. I even joined the drill check team one day, to make sure the safety regulations were up to scratch – and they explained how they carry out the drilling, too.”
Maja grew up in Stravanger. As she embarked on her geology BA Honours degree, she assumed a career in the Oil and Gas industry beckoned. But, she’s always been cognisant of the country’s critical raw materials that lie beneath its surface near her home, and after taking ‘favourite courses’ like mineralogy and geochemistry, she’s changed her tune. She’s now contemplating a future job in mineral exploration in one form or another.
Exciting mineral exploration
“I think mineral exploration is very exciting. I am also very interested in deep sea exploration. There’s not any sea mining in Norway right now, to my knowledge. But, they are mapping the ocean floor. It’s exciting to see all the different geology formations on the sea bed, like the manganese crust. But also things you’re not expecting, like underground volcanoes and black smokers – hot springs or sea vents – and all the animals that live down there.”
Maja hopes to join an undersea excursion one day soon. In the meantime, she’s due back at Norge Mining in April to finish her internship – with plenty more learning opportunities along the way.