Norway Eyes the Deep for Seabed Resources

Norway’s offshore oil and gas reserves have made it one of the wealthiest countries in the world but now attentions in Oslo are turning to a wholly different type of seabed exploration, namely the mining of copper, zinc and other metals.

Reports suggest that Norway could be ready to issue licenses to deep-sea mining operators as early as 2023, which could make it one of the first countries to harvest seafloor metals for use in the construction of electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar farms.

Amid the growing environmental concerns associated with such seabed exploitation activities, officials from Norway recently announced preparations for a series of environmental impact studies to help mitigate any potential risks of mineral exploration and production.

The move follows three years of expeditions during which Norway has discovered significant deep-sea deposits containing copper, zinc, cobalt, gold and silver.

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) estimate that there could be up to 21.7 million tons of copper—more than the world’s copper output in 2019—and 22.7 million tons of zinc on the Norwegian continental shelf.