Olav Skalmeraas

CEO, Norge Mineraler AS

News

Sustainability sets great expectations for the future…

27/09/2023

Sustainability has moved from a buzzword to a business fundament, acting as an increasingly obligatory ethical code of conduct – across borders and across sectors. In mining specifically, it sets great expectations and accountability. And at Norge Mining, and our operations subsidiary, Norge Mineraler AS, sustainability is both our North Star and our most interesting challenge.

ESG vanguards

As a future Europe-based producer of strategically important Critical Raw Materials (vanadium, titanium and phosphate), we want to be the vanguards as our industry shifts dramatically – and we want to be scrutinised to the highest standards. Will our strategies of today still be perceived as responsible in 2040? Sustainability is not about the now. It’s also about the future.

Disclosure & accountability

This is the scene setter for our latest Responsible Business Report – our most comprehensive explanation of the ESG aspects of our business, detailing our commitment to become a sustainable mining company with high standards of disclosure and accountability. Its release comes just three months after Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry presented the government’s mineral strategy – and purposefully echoes it. Not least because the Norwegian government has endorsed the significance of our project within the context of the country’s mining industry and supply of Critical Raw Materials.

With the EU moving towards less dependence on China, Russia and other countries for importing, Norway will no doubt become a key player in supplying these materials. Five focus areas have therefore been identified by the government – to ensure the country’s mining industry will be fast to market, contribute to the circular economy, be more sustainable, have access to private capital and leverage international markets. These principles are at the core of our value proposition – as I’ll now go on to explain.

Fast to market

The Norwegian government’s key emphasis is on expediting mining and mineral projects in the country. To achieve this, it aims to initiate a ‘fast track system’, prioritising projects with the least environmental impact. Due to the urgency surrounding the need for our CRMs, we continue to bolster our operational skills and manpower – to guide us from the current Pre-Feasibility Study phase to commissioning our operation within this decade.

A circular approach

The circular economy means moving away from the world’s current – and enormously wasteful – economic model of ‘take, make, throw away’. Norway now requires projects to present a circular business plan assessing how extractive waste can be used – utilising resources better and reducing impact on nature and the land. What’s fascinating is that waste is no longer such a dirty word. It can contribute to projects such as in road building, coastal protection and offshore wind construction. Waste can add value – and while we can’t yet divulge exact plans, we are excited to engage with experts, industry leaders, and government entities to explore innovative tailings and waste solutions.

Sustainable mining

This is, of course, a huge topic, in which we are committed to adopting a responsible approach to all our activities – limiting emissions and reducing residues. And we continue our close interactions with local communities, so we can design the most sustainable mining operation possible.

Private capital

Norge Mineraler’s exploration and planning activities are financed through private capital.

Green value chains

Norway is positioning itself as a mineral nation – and as a stable supplier of Critical Raw Materials, it will no doubt be at the centre of global green value chains. To do this, it’s calling for international partnerships and strengthened cooperation with EU and European countries. As we move from exploration to feasibility, our senior directors are having continuous talks with the Norwegian government, the EU, and industry far and wide. While Norge Mineraler has recently been officially accepted as a core member of EIT RawMaterials – the largest and most robust consortium in the global raw materials sector.

A brighter future

And so, the weight of responsibility is on our shoulders. But we welcome that. How things have been done in mining before, is not how it will be done now and in the future. We are shaping the industry today – for tomorrow. And that future is looking bright.

If you’d like to discover more, please do read our latest Responsible Business Report – our most thorough ESG analysis to date.