“Norway is a key source of Critical Raw Materials, so I went to find out more. And I started at the Egersund Town Hall in the south-west of the country where many of these are located, because mining projects need local support.” These words from MEP Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou on her recent visit to Norway, during which we were honoured to act as her chaperones.
As well as a Member of the European Parliament, Ms. Asimakopoulou is the Vice-Chair of the Committee of International Trade, a lawyer and Greek politician. Her Twitter post explains more about why she was keen to visit Norway as one of the EU’s key partners and how much emphasis she puts on CRMs.
Norway and the EU working together
“In order to achieve its climate neutral objectives, the EU’s Green Deal and digital transformation requires access to Critical Raw Materials. Finding trustworthy partners is key to ensuring a secure supply. Norway is one of those partners, so I went to find out how we can work together.”
After the Town Hall meeting, we brought Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou to Skeipstad in Rogaland County, in the far south-west of the country. Here she met our chief engineers, to understand our investigations into vanadium, phosphate, and titanium – starting with how Norge Mining extracts ground core samples in the area. Next, we brought Ms. Asimakopoulou to our core shed. Here research is undertaken into the quality of the core and an assessment as to how magnetic the minerals are – before these are sent for further analysis. She found it quite astonishing that we have collected more than 70,000 metres of core to date. Following the site visit, Ms. Asimakopoulou and the team flew to Oslo to meet MPs at the Norwegian Parliament.
Ms Asimakopoulou had meetings with Norwegian conservative MPs Ingjerd Schou (member of The Enlarged Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee) and Bård Ludvig Thorheim (member of The Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment) to discuss CRMs and how Norway can support the EU’s Green Deal 2030 and 2050 climate and environment objectives. These kinds of discussions are vital. They can impact how the Norwegian government is engaging the EU in developing strategic partnerships when it comes to battery and raw material value chains. We will be providing insight into these topics, so debates are backed up by evidence and can guide authorities in their decision-making processes.
Time is of the essence
Interest in Norway as a potential CRMs supplier to Europe is moving at pace – as visits from high profile MEPs, senior EU figures such as European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič as well as ministers from around the EU attest. There is an increasing sentiment that time is of the essence, with strategic discussions becoming more urgent – and fruitful.
Instead of being on the periphery of the European Union’s radar, Norge Mineraler’s exploration of Critical Raw Materials is now firmly on the agenda of EU politicians and officials. We have a total resource of 910 million tonnes in the Storeknuten deposit – a substantial increase in volume and grade compared to the original estimates. Much remains to be done, however. With many more European politicians looking to Norway to support the EU, we take our responsibility very seriously – as we move further towards becoming a substantial and strategic mineral exploration company and reliable Norwegian government and EU partner.