Norway’s strategic natural resources…


Norway could become one of the most pivotal countries in Europe for critical raw material production and supply in the future. Significant deposits of EU CRMs vanadium and phosphate lie beneath the country, that are needed for achieving a greener, more sustainable future.

Green shift goals

In October, the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Jan Cristian Vestre visited Egersund, to discuss mineral policy. In the government’s budget proposal, an additional NOK 10 million has been allocated for mapping minerals – highlighting a greater focus on natural resources by the state. According to Jan Cristian Vestre,

We probably have Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth elements and metals. This means we should increase the mapping of it – also to make wise decisions about where we should have business and where not..{…}..Our goal in the green shift, which the Center Party and the Labor Party completely agree on, is that we will mobilize as much private capital as possible for the green shift.

In charge of mapping minerals is the NGU, – the Geological Survey of Norway – an agency under the Ministry of Trade’s umbrella. To find out more, read our interview with Henrik Schiellerup, the NGU’s Director of Resources and Environment.

A pro-active approach supporting industry

Back to recent comments from Jan Cristian Vestre and the Minister of Trade also commented:

Our goal is not for the state to displace private initiatives. Private initiatives are intended to ensure that a larger share of value creation is left locally. But I do not rule out, as my predecessor did, that we can also use state ownership if it can help us get to the goal faster. But then it must be together with private, not in competition.”

Over the last months Vestre has been busy, supporting a number of new industry projects under the label of the government “Green Industry Initiative”. In all the government has pledged 6 billion Euro for the initiative. This include co-investments in projects like developing the new plants for battery production at Morrow in Arendal.

Interestingly, soon after that visit in Egersund, Mr Vestre presented a new government white paper at a press conference in Oslo. A few statements stand out in this document:

“A greener and more active state ownership” 

  • The government will draw up a new ownership statement with the aim that state capital and ownership should contribute to increased exports, the development of new, green value chains and more profitable jobs.
  • The government has a pragmatic approach to what the state should own. In contrast to the previous ownership announcement, reducing the state’s ownership is no longer a goal in itself.
  • If Norway is to succeed in the transition to a low-emission society, there is a need for significant investments and new solutions. New technology, new products, new infrastructure, and collaboration within a number of industries.

It’s clear that Norway is eyeing up its own resources – minerals that are strategically important to the EU, and beyond. Given its location, the size of its CRM deposits, and the ‘critical’ nature of its minerals, the country may well find itself at the centre of more transatlantic partnerships in years to come, following the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) that Norway joined in September 2022. These alliances will help create strong, stable, and sustainable supply chains. For now, Norway’s natural resources are being pushed right to the top of its political, economic, and green agenda – and it’ll be fascinating to see what unfolds.