Norway - a pioneer for commercial deep-sea mining

Artist´s illustration of deep-sea mining exploration with the help of submarines. Credit: Archive image

Norway is poised to become one of the first countries to embark on commercial deep-sea mining following a contentious decision by the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) to open the nation's seabed for mineral exploitation. This groundbreaking move excludes oil and gas, focusing solely on seabed minerals.

The decision, supported by a majority in the Storting, suggests deep-sea mining can be profitable and sustainable. However, this has sparked a debate, with critics inside and outside the parliament warning of the potentially severe impacts on marine life and the natural underwater environment.

Meet the growing global demand

The vote saw a clear majority, with 80 in favour and 20 against the proposal, following an agreement between the governing Labour Party, the Centre Party, the Conservative Party, and the Progress Party. The Norwegian government argues that seabed mining will enhance the nation's self-sufficiency and meet the growing global demand for essential metals.

Norway plans to gradually open an area of 280,000 square kilometres northwest of the country for exploration and mining activities.

Vast area underexplored

Meanwhile, international discussions on deep-sea mining regulations are underway. Many countries and companies oppose such activities, citing insufficient knowledge about deep-sea environments and the potential for significant ecological damage.

- Opening a new, vulnerable, and vast area underexplored by science, Haldis Tjeldflaat Helle from Greenpeace Norway told AFP, highlighting the environmental concerns associated with this initiative.

Sources: NRK, AFP, DN