The European Commission launched the European Raw Metals Alliance in October this year, and with it a pertinent mission statement: ‘ERMA contributes to ensuring reliable, secure and sustainable access to raw materials as key enablers for a globally competitive, green, and digital Europe’.
Hot off the heels of its inception came Norge Mining’s invite to join. We were introduced by a member of the European Commission and then after our very first meeting with ERMA officials, they accepted us into their associates’ network and integrated us into their platform. We are excited and honoured to be part of helping ERMA achieve its 2030 vision:
- Bolster the creation of environmentally sustainable and socially equitable innovations and infrastructure
- Implement a Circular Economy of complex products like electric vehicles, cleantech, and hydrogen equipment
- Support Europe’s raw materials industry capability, to extract, design, manufacture and recycle materials
- Promote innovation, strategic investment, and industrial production across specific value chains
Our invitation to ERMA and our solidarity with its pledges shows that Norge Mining – and Norway itself – is now considered a key player in the Critical Raw Material market. Although not a member state of the European Union, the EU clearly understands the strategic significance of having friendly, neighbourly source of materials that are vital to our economies and our green recovery – now against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and global supply chain disruption.
This year also saw Titanium added to the revised EU’s Critical Raw Material list, which also includes phosphorus and vanadium. Norge Mining is investigating all three Critical Raw Materials at our sites in southern Norway. Back in 2017, the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) stated that ‘Ilmenite and vanadium in the Bjerkreim-Sokndal intrusion, together, constitute a world-class resource’. However, when I look back at the reports from the country’s mining ministry, the results of the research carried out then were only exchanged between geological organisations and university faculties – never in investor circles. There was a broad knowledge, but the magnitude of the resources was unexpected.
Our drilling, sampling and lab testing so far show that there are potential concentrations of these critical raw materials right down to 2.2 kilometres below the surface. Magnetic surveys show the mineralised ore body reaches a depth beyond 4km. Nobody would have expected this – not even us! Norway has always been known for its oil, gas and fisheries. We believe that’s about to change and that green mining for Critical Raw Materials will become an industry there for generations to come – and for the benefit of its European neighbours. We are looking forward to working with the Norwegian government further, as more significant results are unearthed during our ongoing drilling and analysis programme. To achieve this, we are working with an independent team of geologist and engineer partners on the ground.
And we are also looking forward to working more with the European Union itself. In the words of Bernd Schäfer, CEO of EIT RawMaterials (who are managing the alliance):
‘With the European Raw Materials Alliance, we have a true European answer based on the knowledge and expertise of more than 150 stakeholders. Together we can turn Europe’s raw material dependency into a major strategic strength for our continent, while continually applying the highest environmental and social standards.’
Norge Mining is looking forward to being part of Europe’s transition from dependency to independent host to sources of vanadium, phosphorus and titanium. Our inclusion is a timely recognition of Norge Mining and our operations from higher authorities. It’s also a watershed moment for Norwegians – as their country is taken seriously as a future European provider of critical raw materials.