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Modern Mineral Exploration:
Securing Europe’s Economic Future

BY MICHAEL WURMSER
FOUNDER, COO & DEPUTY CEO OF NORGE MINING

You may not have heard much about vanadium and phosphates – until now – But the European Union has declared them ‘critical’ to the future of Europe’s economy. They are strategically important for Europe, and they have the power to create a more sustainable global future.

You may not have heard much about vanadium and phosphates – until now – But the European Union has declared them ‘critical’ to the future of Europe’s economy. They are strategically important for Europe, and they have the power to create a more sustainable global future.

Norway is sitting on large, untapped deposits of these minerals, according to investigations so far (both ours and the Norwegian government’s). And Norge Mining is at the frontline of these explorations.

The opportunities for investors and the potential of these high-demand resources is palpable and we are excited for the journey ahead.

High-Risk Supply

According to the European Union, ‘Critical Raw Materials’ are of “high economic importance to the EU with a high risk associated with their supply”. At the moment, Russia accounts for the majority of the EU’s supply of vanadium (60%), while Kazakhstan is providing the largest share of phosphorus (77%). Unsurprisingly then, both these minerals are now on the EU’s critical list. They are needed for many everyday products and are vital ingredients for emerging innovations. With this in mind, we feel we are the gatekeepers of something that’s potentially huge.

Phosphates have a pivotal role to play in Europe’s economic and political security and vanadium is set to be a gamechanger when it comes to our green energy future.

V-Power

Let’s take a closer look at the emerging power of – and demand for – vanadium. A by-product of iron-ore, it’s malleable, ductile and corrosion-resistant, and therefore hugely valuable in manufacturing – prices hit a high in October 2018. When coated, it takes on Herculean properties making it ideal for tools. It’s also used in car bodies to make them lighter – as well as stronger. Twenty years ago, no vanadium went into making cars.

By 2025, it’s estimated that 85 per cent of all vehicles will incorporate vanadium alloy to decrease weight and increase fuel efficiency. In a way, it’s making steel greener.

Greener Energy

But, by far the most exciting use of vanadium lies in its ability to store renewable energy. Non-flammable and compact, vanadium ‘redox flow’ batteries have a long lifecycle – and we are talking decades, not just years. They can be re-charged thousands of times without any impact on their value. Vanadium is at the forefront of power storage and we are proud to be at the forefront of exploring a more sustainable European supply. Experts predict it may soon replace lithium as the most important battery metal. As research into how to decrease the size of vanadium batteries gathers pace, it’ll be interesting to see if this vital mineral can play a role in our electric vehicle revolution.

Food Security

And then there are phosphates – providing a different, but not diminished role in Europe’s future. In fact, phosphates could provide the natural answer to global food security. That may sound like an audacious claim, but the use of phosphate fertilisers has boosted crop yields and helped feed millions, if not billions of people in the last half a century. Supply strategies – as highlighted by EU’s ‘critical raw materials’ list – are becoming increasingly important.

With our increasingly limited availability of land – not to mention our thirst for food diversity – the need for this vital mineral can only get greater.

Untapped Resources

With demand for phosphates and vanadium spiralling, Norway is perfectly poised to become the powerhouse of European supply. While not a member state of the European Union, Norway is a politically stable ally and a vital trade partner – one that the rest of Europe needs more than ever, given its treasure chest of natural resources. While the exact value of its untapped vanadium and phosphate reserves is still unknown, investigations so far do not disappoint. If anything, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Its government is strongly fostering the mining industry and its Minister of Trade and Energy has declared:

“Norway has significant mineral resources that can contribute to Europe’s access.”

A New Era

Mining has, of course, had its critics in the past. But Norge Mining wants to create a different legacy, based on modern, innovative mining techniques that are sensitive to surrounding environments and communities. We are working in tandem with the Norwegian government to explore these critical minerals, as well as titanium – another mineral market that’s going from strength to strength – and highly sought-after gold.

Great Potential

There are clearly exciting opportunities ahead, as demand for these critical raw materials gathers pace by the day. The European economic and political need for vanadium and phosphates is evident; so too is the global interest. If you hadn’t known much about these minerals before now, you certainly will be hearing a lot more about them in the near future.

Офис в Соединенном Королевстве
Fourth floor, 43 Berkeley Square,
London, W1J 5FJ, United Kingdom
E uk.office@norgemining.com
T +44 20 7889 7894

Офис в Норвегии
TEØK AS, Holtet 45, 1368 Stabekk, Kingdom of Norway
E office@norgemining.com
T +47 952 55 835

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