Norway Turns to the Seabed to Solve Minerals Shortage

⚡ Five Second Summary:

Norway is aiming to move its economy away from fossil fuels, and recently secured parliamentary support to open the Arctic Ocean for seabed mineral exploration.

🤔 What's Happening:

  • Norway secures parliamentary majority for Arctic Ocean seabed mineral exploration to diversify from fossil fuels.

  • Greenpeace and WWF condemn the decision, expressing concerns about biodiversity and ecosystem impact.

  • Geopolitical tensions rise as Russia and the EU dispute Norway's claim to the exploration area.

  • The proposed area is believed to host significant copper deposits, exceeding the world's annual production.

🔢 Numbers + Facts:

  • The proposed 280,000 km² area along the mid-Atlantic Ridge is estimated to contain 38 million tonnes of copper.

  • The International Energy Agency predicts a 40% growth in demand for copper and rare earth metals, and 60%, 70%, and 90% for nickel, cobalt, and lithium, respectively.

  • Norway plans to explore minerals on its extended continental shelf, bypassing the need for international seabed mineral extraction rules.

  • Planet Tracker's study indicates a 28% higher or 76% lower climate impact for deep-sea nodules compared to land ores.

🔮 Looking Ahead:

  • Geopolitical tensions may escalate over contested exploration areas.

  • Norway faces environmental scrutiny, amending proposals with stricter environmental survey requirements.

  • The future of deep-sea mining remains uncertain, with advocates emphasizing economic benefits and opponents calling for comprehensive research on environmental consequences.

📈 The Company: Kuniko (ASX:KNI)

Market Cap: $21M | Share Price: $0.26 | Industry: Mining

KNI holds a portfolio of battery metals exploration assets (copper, nickel, and cobalt) in Norway with a mandate to maintain carbon neutrality in all its operations.

How does KNI fit into the story?

This news highlights Norway’s urgency for a local supply of battery metals - that a country with great environmental ambitions is turning to the seabed to solve its batter metal shortages.

Norway has recently made a concerted effort to reduce mine permitting times and KNI could benefit from those legislated changes if it can discover or prove out an economically viable copper, nickel or cobalt mine. 

Norway is clearly keen on being part of the energy transition in Europe, but its efforts on deep sea mining might be better put towards more proximal sources of battery materials - i.e on land, with KNI and companies like it.

📰 Mainstream Media Coverage

Financial Times

“Environmentalists warn move to extract minerals needed for green industries risks damaging fragile ecosystems”

Associated Press

“If extraction can be done sustainably…seabed mineral activities can strengthen the economy, including employment in Norway, while ensuring the supply of crucial metals for the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”