The Norwegian deposit is estimated to be worth 70 billion tons at least, which is just under the 71 billion tons of proven world reserves as evaluated by the US Geological Survey in 2021. Read more about the world’s largest underground deposit of high-grade phosphate discovered in Norway.
Along with phosphate, Norwegian deposits also contain vanadium and titanium, which are also classified as critical raw materials by the EU.
The European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) has announced that it will support Norge Mining in securing finances for responsible sourcing of crucial minerals in Norway to secure EU’s autonomy on critical raw materials.
Is this Norway’s new oil? Find out more by clicking the image below:
The deposit, pitched as the world’s largest, is big enough to satisfy world demand for fertilizers, solar panels and electric car batteries over the next 100 years, according to the company exploiting the resource.
Today, the largest phosphorite deposits in the world with reserves of about 50 billion tons are located in the Western Sahara region of Morocco. According to US estimates, the next largest reserves are found in China (3.2 billion tons), Egypt (2.8 billion tons) and Algeria (2.2 billion tons).
European production of these materials is critical to lowering the increasing risks associated with imported supply, as well as supporting Europe to achieve its 2050 net zero carbon emissions target. Currently, China produces approximately 59% of the world’s vanadium and 41% of titanium, while 34% of traded phosphate rock is sourced from Morocco, according to the latest EU figures. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia was the world’s largest supplier of aerospace-grade titanium.
“Now, when you find something of that magnitude in Europe, which is larger than all the other sources we know – it is significant,” said Michael Wurmser, founder of Norge Mining, the company behind the discovery.
Norway is also the poster child for electric vehicle adoption. Learn more by clicking the image below:
The European Commission, in a Euractiv comment, welcomed the confirmation of the existence of a massive Norwegian deposit of phosphorites.
Norge Mineraler AS holds 61 exploration licences, totaling more than 520 km2 in the Bjerkreim-Sokndal basin, located in southwestern Norway. The area’s large deposits of high-grade raw materials, and the company’s core focus on sustainable and responsible mining, make the project fully aligned with ERMA’s vision, as it will contribute to ensuring reliable, secure, and sustainable access to raw materials as key enablers for a globally competitive, green, and digital Europe.
“The discovery is indeed great news, which would contribute to the objectives of the Commission’s proposal on the Critical Raw Material Act,” said a spokesperson for the EU executive.
About 90% of the world’s mined phosphorite ore is used in agriculture for the production of phosphorus, which is needed in the production of fertilizers, for which there is currently no alternative.
Rare Earth Metal is also discovered in Sweden. Learn more by clicking the image below:
Bernd Schäfer, CEO and Managing Director of EIT RawMaterials, which manages ERMA, commented:
“Europe is in an excellent position: we can use our advantage in clean tech innovation and skills development to turn the industry into a powerhouse of innovation and change, and, in doing so, achieve the highest social and environmental standards for European mining, just as Norge Mineraler AS is doing.”
According to Wurmser, Norway will be able to observe stricter environmental standards when digging out and refining those minerals than Asian competitors currently do, by applying carbon capture and storage technology.
Currently, Europe does not mine rare earth elements, so it depends on the import of these minerals, where China completely dominates the market. However, the demand for these raw materials will increase sharply in the process of electrification, which will lead to a global shortage of supply against the background of increasing geopolitical tensions.
John Vergopoulos, Chairman of Norge Mineraler AS, commented:
“Raw materials are finally getting the attention they deserve, and we are determined to help Europe secure a domestic supply of responsibly sourced critical raw materials to enable its successful transition to renewable energy sources. With the environment and community at the top of our corporate agenda, we are proud that Norge Mineraler AS is striving to meet the highest environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards for mining vanadium, phosphate, and titanium in Europe,” he commented.
The World’s Largest Underground Deposit of High-Grade Phosphate Discovered in Norway, edited by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): © Erma