Sourcing new reserves of minerals vital in fuelling the global green revolution brings social, scientific and environmental opportunities. Important insight can be gleaned from core samples drilled in the search for new deposits, providing valuable data for scientists and academics alike. Norge Mining has recently added to Norway’s rich geological research resource pool, with the provision of the country’s longest core sample to the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU).
‘A pristine and unique sample’
Back in August 2020, Norge Mining began drilling the deepest hole in Norway’s history. The precise location was determined following aerial geophysical surveys indicating magnetic anomaly in the area. It took three months for the drill hole to reach its planned depth of 2.2 km, producing the longest core sample ever taken in the country. Weighing 17 tonnes, and potentially representing 935 million years of geological history, the pristine core sample is now safely stored in more than 500 boxes at a secure facility at the National Drill Core and Sample Centre in Løkken.
This core is very unique, and we expect it to have national and international academic interest. It will give us an opportunity to study magmatic processes and understand the geological processes affecting the region. Being able to look 2km deep is quite unique.
Kari Aslaksen Aasly, Head of Section Mineral Resources at NGU
The NGU plans to make this rich source of geological data available for academics studying the effects of magmatic processes on layered intrusions. Analysis may shed further light both on where magma presents within the earth’s crust and how it is formed. The core sample’s cross-sectional integrity will be maintained by ensuring that no full-diameter samples are removed. Because of its scientific importance, prior to being given to the NGU, the core sample was analysed only by non-destructive methods – such as X-ray fluorescence and magnetic susceptibility.
This is a unique drill core and we hope that, over the coming years, it provides the NGU with many valuable insights into the mineralisation down to a very deep level in that part of southwest Norway.
John Vergopoulos, Chief Executive Officer at Norge Mining
Interestingly, this is the second time that Norge Mining has given samples from the drilling site. In 2020, finely ground rock (created as a by-product of the drilling process), was formed into a material that could be worked on a potter’s wheel and fired. A local ceramic artist created several remarkable pieces, each with an intense, dark brown colour – said to be the deepest shade in Norway.
Powering Europe towards Net Zero
Future core samples produced as a result of mineral exploration will also be given to the NGU via the Directorate of Mining, under the terms of The Mineral Act. Norge Mining holds 61 exploration licences across more than 520 kms2 in south-west Norway – an area known to contain vanadium, titanium, and phosphate – classified by the EU as Critical Raw Materials. As part of its Scoping Study at the Bjerkreim Exploration Project, Norge Mining announced the discovery of two world-class mineral deposits in 2021; these will be of great importance as the world strives for Net Zero. Key minerals such as vanadium, titanium and phosphate are plentiful below Norway’s surface, and Norge Mining is proud to play a potential part in supplying its European neighbours with critical minerals in the future.
Closer-to-home supply chains
Currently Europe produces just 2-3% of the world’s minerals and metals, yet we consume more than 20% of global supply. In the interests of minimising the environmental effects of transportation, it’s vital that as many mineral resources right here in Europe are made available for use in green technology.
Europe hardly produces any raw materials. But we are voracious consumers
Henrik Schiellerup, Director of Resources & Environment at NGU
Norge Mining remains committed to responsible and sustainable mineral exploration and future production. The provision of this latest core sample is just one example of the partnerships we’re proud to have built across industry, government, and academia.