Norway’s mining strategy to attract exploration

By Siobhan Lismore-Scott
Published: Friday, 21 February 2014

The Norwegian government is seeking to attract miners to the country and has developed a strategy for the minerals industry to do this by promoting the country’s deposits and publicising the industries that are already in place and working.

The Norwegian government is seeking to attract miners to the country and has developed a strategy for the minerals industry to do this by promoting the country’s deposits and publicising the industries that are already in place and working.

The 72-page Strategy for the Mineral Industry was released in 2013 and outlines the geographic location of deposits of minerals such as olivine, graphite, limestone, dolomite and rutile; as well as providing details of mining legislation in Norway.

According to the government, and as a starting point, a forum is to be established following the Strategy.

“Increasing international demand for minerals and metals has resulted in higher prices and increased interest in the mineral resources of Norway. There is increasing optimism in the minerals industry and many minerals companies are active in exploiting the opportunities that lie in Norway’s geology,” Trond Giske, then Minister of Trade and Industry, explained.

The government has worked to simplify the legal framework for operations in the mining industry. In 2010 a new Minerals Act was presented which replaced the five acts that were in place for mining and mineral businesses alike. This, the government said at the time, was an important step towards simplifying the minerals sector and boosting transparency.

“When it comes to the unimaginable values in our bedrock, we leave far too much to chance. This must stop. These values must also be managed in a sustainable way and for the benefit of the population,” Arne Haugen, spokesperson for the Minerals Act in the Storting (Parliament), said at the time.





Prices driving growth

The main driver behind the strategy is to develop an already profitable minerals industry in Norway that in turn is expected to open up new mining opportunities in the country. In 2011, the Norwegian minerals industry had a turnover of Norwegian kroner (NKr) 12.4bn ($2.04bn*) and employed 6,000 people.

Industrial minerals contributed NKr 2.9bn ($0.47bn) to this figure, almost 25%. The total export of industrial minerals amounted to NKr 2.3bn ($0.38bn), which means that nearly 80% of industrial mineral production in Norway, in terms of value, is exported.

“Markets for mineral resources have changed significantly in recent years. Prices for many minerals and metals have increased. Given continued growth in the world economy, there is reason to assume that the prices of many minerals and metals will, in the future, be at a higher level than today,” the Strategy stated.





Production

“The four major export products in 2011 were iron ore concentrate, coal, ground calcium carbonate and crushed rock. Other important export minerals are stone blocks (primarily larvikite), ilmenite, olivine, nepheline syenite and quartz/quartzite,” the Strategy revealed.

“A significant amount of industrial minerals production is linked to the production of dolomite and marble. The number of companies involved is approximately 20. Hustadmarmor in M¿re and Romsdal is the world’s largest supplier of ground marble filler to the paper industry. Norway is also the world’s largest producer of olivine,” it added.

“On Senja, Skaland Graphite AS extracts flake graphite and is one of only two producers in Europe of this mineral,” the Strategy outlined.

*Conversions made February 2014