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Seabed mineral mining act consultation in Norway

Written by  OE Staff Monday, 15 May 2017 02:47

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has launched a consultation on a new act on mineral recovery on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.  

The move comes after the ministry took over responsibility for the exploration and recovery of mineral deposits on the Norwegian Continental Shelf from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. 

Until now, Norwegian sea areas have not been widely explored with regard to mineral deposits, and current regulations are not designed for such activity. 

“The NPD is an agency with considerable knowledge about the geology on the shelf, so this is a perfect task for us. We are looking forward to tackling this job,” says exploration director Sissel Eriksen.

The NPD has mapped the petroleum potential on the Norwegian shelf for many years, and this work has provided considerable knowledge about other resources:

“Through the work on mapping the shelf’s outer borders, and particularly the surveys of the sea areas surrounding Jan Mayen, we have examined and taken samples of minerals on the seabed. We have done this while collecting samples to assess the potential for discovering oil and gas,” says Eriksen.

The seabed minerals that are commercially interesting are in 1500-3000m water depth in areas where there is no oil or gas.

Minerals on the seabed can be split into two groups; sulphide minerals along spread ridges and iron manganese crusts on bare rock on the seabed. The NPD has collected some iron manganese crusts, and chemical analyses show promising results with regard to “green minerals,” which are metals that are important within modern communication technology and wind power.

“While the NPD has completed some mapping and gathered some samples, we have barely scratched the surface. We have considerable work to do, which will involve using geophysical readings and taking samples of the seabed with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs),” the exploration director says.

The NPD has already established a good relationship with the University of Bergen for use of this technology.

“Otherwise this is completely new to us – we now need to obtain an overview of what the new task means and how it can be adapted to the NPD’s organization,” Eriksen concludes.

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