Minerals give opportunities in the north

Minerals give opportunities in the north

January 25, 2011
Head of Communication

Good mineral resources provide great opportunities for industry and added value in Northern Norway, according to a fresh report.

A fresh report entitled “GeoNor” points to opportunities for industrial added value based on geological resources in the High North. Norut Narvik and Norut Alta have contributed to the report.

The government has already promised NOK 100 million for geological mapping of mineral deposits in Northern Norway. The initial NOK 20 million is included in the 2011 budget.

State Secretary Erik Lahnstein said the report points to exciting opportunities that can provide both jobs and added value in Northern Norway, according to the news agency Avisenes nyhetsbyrå (ANB).

“There is a glaring global demand for minerals. China, the EU and USA are positioning themselves in this market. I would therefore not rule out large volumes. There are great opportunities here,” says Lahnstein.

“The attention in the north has to date primarily been devoted to fish and petroleum resources, but it is now important that we direct focus towards the opportunities that lie in minerals and metals in Northern Norway,” says Lahnstein to ANB, adding: “We need to develop new knowledge and assess new logistical solutions associated with navigation through the North East Passage.”

Social consequences

Norut Alta has analysed the social consequences of an industrial development based on gas and minerals in the north.

Global political processes are of decisive importance for this industrial development, with growth in China and the EU’s initiative for increased European self-sufficiency of metals of particular importance. EU’s raw material initiative points out that the big opportunities are in the north.

“Changes in logistics, infrastructure and policy frameworks as just as important for industrial development projects as genuine new industrial processes and products,” says Sveinung Eikeland, Managing Director of Norut Alta.

“There is a need for changes in North Norwegian logistics systems and to connect these with the changes we are seeing in North Sweden, North Finland and in Kola.”

“We have also analysed the regional ripple effects of some of the integrated industrial projects that are presented in the report. The relationship with the indigenous people has also been dealt with,” says Eikeland.

“Of local significance is the municipalities’ planning capacity directed towards larger scale industrial projects. Norut Alta has also assessed how Finnmarkseiendommen must be involved in the planning processes.”

“These analyses show how important the social research perspectives are in the development of industrial projects,” concludes Eikeland.

Port facilities

A High North initiative with large land-based industrial plants will, according to the report, create a requirement for port facilities with terminals in Northern Norway. Examples of North Norwegian ports with large potential for further industrial development are Mo i Rana, Narvik, Kirkenes and Hammerfest.

On the Russian side, the report points to the Port of Murmansk. It also refers to the fact that Swedish and Finnish ports in the Bay of Bothnia are not ice-free year-round. Luleå’s port is only 12 m deep, while Narvik’s port at a depth of 27 m in principle has no limitation.

Narvik can be central

Terje Nordvåg, the Managing Director of Norut Narvik, has participated in the work concerning GeoNor, and has the following comments about Narvik’s role:

“We have advantages in Narvik in relation to logistics, with a combination of the Ofoten Line and an ice-free deep-water port combined with the concentration on technology at the university college, technology park and Norut.”

“There are other places in the area that are exciting too. Kjøpsvik, Ballangen and Skjomen are areas where there can be commercially exploitable metal deposits.”

All three North Norwegian counties have large deposits of ore and industrial minerals. The upcoming geological mapping will reveal where there are commercially exploitable deposits.

“We can’t just protect this part of the country if we want exciting jobs and growth. There are great opportunities, but in requires making use in a considerate manner of our natural resources to a higher degree,” says Nordvåg.

“The demand for minerals and metals will increase in the foreseeable future so these are long-term plans. There is a global shortage of raw materials and resources. Examples include nickel and olives, where prices have risen significantly.”


The report also points to great opportunities for Finnmark, with respect to transport, logistics and extraction. Examples from the report include:

  • Kirkenes can become the Rotterdam of the Nordic countries with a transport terminal for storage and processing of ore and mineral products.
  • Hammerfest can get a gas-based industrial cluster with ironworks, production of extremely clean carbon and petrochemicals.
  • The iron ore from Kirkenes and Kiruna can be used for further processing of iron and steel at Tjeldbergodden and in Hammerfest instead of being transported to steel works in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


The report is the result of a collaborative project between scientists from Norut, SINTEF, Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) and NTNU.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Executive Committee for Northern Norway and the county councils in Nordland, Troms and Finnmark have provided funding for the project.