Under the seabed: Norway detects large quantities of rare earths

Under the sea floor
Norway detects large amounts of rare earths

A few days ago, Sweden reported finding huge amounts of rare earths. Now Norway is also discovering millions of tons of the important raw materials. However, Oslo would be breaking new ground in terms of exploitation. Further investigation should therefore clarify whether this is the case.

According to a study, large quantities of raw materials such as rare earths, copper and cobalt are stored off the coast of Norway. “Among the metals found in the area covered by the survey are magnesium, niobium, cobalt and rare earths that are on the EU Commission’s list of scarce minerals,” said the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), which conducted the study has been responsible for.

According to estimates, 38 million tons of copper could be stored under the seabed, about twice the amount that is currently mined annually. In addition, 45 million tons of zinc are suspected. In addition, 1.7 million tons of cerium are assumed, which belongs to the rare earths and is used, among other things, in aluminum processing.

Sweden recently reported large finds of rare earths. However, these are stored near the iron ore mines of Kiruna, which have been in operation for a long time. Rare earths and other raw materials in Europe are coming more into focus as the EU wants to become less dependent on producing countries like China.

However, Norwegian environmental groups warn against further exploration of the seabed pending further studies designed to analyze the impact of undersea mining. The Norwegian Institute for Marine Research (IMR) also warned that there is still a lack of knowledge about life in the deep sea. The Petroleum Directorate NPD also admitted that further investigations are needed to estimate how much of the materials with acceptable environmental impact could be promoted.

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