Norway draws up a law on mining on the seabed
Mineral mines on the seabed can become a billion industry.
Norway is in the process of developing legislation on offshore mining, which raises hopes and concerns.
The Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation and its chairman Silje Ask Lundberg belong to those who have protested against the current bill
- We are very frightened by what we now see, that you are so willing to "jump tick" over many environmental surveys that should have been done first.
Silje Ask Lundberg believes that the Norwegian authorities start at the wrong end. They produce a law that allows mineral extraction at sea, before knowing how it can affect unique ecosystems in the deep sea.
Today, there is not a single commercial deep-sea mine operating in the world, but this can eventually become a multi-billion industry.
On the seabed, very large amounts of valuable minerals and metals such as gold, silver, zinc and copper are expected.
Olav Hallset at the trade association Norsk Bergindustri admits that mining at sea would entail great risks for the environment, even though economic opportunities exist.
Preliminary investigations indicate high-grade mineral deposits on the Norwegian seabed.
- Although, of course, they are much more inaccessible than the resources you have on land, the instances themselves often seem to be richer. This makes it even more interesting to look further, of course, says Olav Hallset at Norsk Bergindustri.
In January, there will be a tough debate in the Norwegian Parliament about exactly how to formulate the forthcoming law on mineral extraction at sea.
Decisions are expected in February 2019.
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