Covid-19 is, of course, affecting businesses across the world, particularly SMEs. And yet, the behemoths have also been hugely disrupted; let’s not forget the announcement from Apple about a fear of iPhone shortages when the pandemic was a mere epidemic emanating from China. The unnerving volatility of global stock markets and the billions being spent on supporting economies leave us all wondering how the world can emerge from this in one piece.
At Norge Mining we are assessing the situation with the gravitas it deserves. And yet, despite short term disruption, we don’t think the coronavirus pandemic will affect our business significantly. And that’s due to the stage we are at. Supply chains will power our future business, but currently, we are insulated from the global standstill as we are concentrating on the vital investigation phase of our work in Norway, exploring four valuable minerals and metals (vanadium, phosphorus, titanium and ilmenite).
We appreciate that makes us one of the lucky ones. And it also gives us the confidence that we can emerge from this as ready as ever to proceed towards production. For now, we are focusing on sourcing and testing programmes, generating data and enhancing the value of our licences. With Saudi Arabia’s oil price cut and the knock-on effect on oil producers, these other resources are more important than ever to Norway.
They are strategically important for the rest of Europe too – as the world wakes up to the significance of diversified supply chains. One thing is for sure, “single source is out and diversification is in”: companies will need to challenge the misconception that our supply chains are truly global. Covid-19 has certainly exposed that dependency on one country alone for products, goods and raw materials may no longer be a viable – or sensible – course of action.
Vanadium and phosphorus are on the European Union’s Critical Raw Material list, because they are economically and strategically important for the European economy, but have a high-risk associated with their supply. Norge Mining is well positioned to break this high supply risk. According to our thorough tests so far, we have large, rich reserves of both phosphate and vanadium in our licence areas in Norway. Once production begins in earnest, this will put as at the very start of the value chain, with an ability to secure supply to Europe and the wider world.
Phosphate fertiliser is thought to be key to feeding our burgeoning global population, in a more environmentally-friendly way than harmful nitrogen-based ones. We are positioned to be primary supplier in three important industries (fertiliser, steel and titanium), with the fertiliser industry alone being worth more than 200 billion euros worldwide. Sought-after metal, vanadium, is already in high demand thanks to its use in specialty steel alloys and rebar. All eyes are now on vanadium redox flow batteries – capable of large energy storage over long periods of time. In many ways, the world is only just starting to understand its vast potential.
The collective global pause that Covid-19 has enforced is giving us all a chance to reflect on how we will operate in the future. At Norge Mining, we are building our business during subdued activity, and we look forward to continuing our explorations as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will keep analysing thoroughly the data collected from our airborne geophysical surveys – and we look forward to pushing our business forward, along with many other industries and sectors, in the near future.