Mineral company with base in the north

Mineral company with base in the north

August 26, 2011

“If Norway is to succeed, the government must establish a mineral company based on the model of Statoil, preferably based in Narvik,” says Terje Nordvåg of Norut Narvik.

“Why not call it Stat-Min or something in that direction? The point is that these are resources that we should retain partial control over ourselves,” says the Norut Narvik Managing Director.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Trond Giske, recently visited Narvik with a message that a mineral strategy is now being put in place for Norway.

“And of course it is everything other than a coincidence that he came here to Narvik. From a geological perspective Ofoten is one of the most interesting regions in Norway. Everything is arranged so we can recommend that such a company be placed in Narvik,” believes Nordvåg.

The combination of the Ofoten Line (railway) and a deep-water harbour mean Narvik is also Scandinavia’s largest harbour for ore.

Natural

Irene Lange Nordahl (Centre Party), a member of the Storting’s Standing Committee on Business and Industry, is among those who have previously made a stand to develop a company based on the model of Statoil.

“If it’s only foreign companies that are going to extract resources in Northern Norway, the development will be controlled from China, India and Australia. Norway has previously managed to do things in a correct manner with oil and gas activities in the North Sea. Now it’s important to make such moves on land.”

“Narvik and Tromsø both have environments that it would be completely natural to draw on,” says Lange Nordahl. “The most important for me is that we get this in the north. It is a matter of power of definition, and this is something we should have in Northern Norway.”

Powerhouse

And the expansion plans for the railway line are enormous. Narvik is the North Norwegian powerhouse within technology and in addition possesses the relevant technological competence, including in the processing of minerals and ores.

At Norut alone, there are 20 scientists within minerals, ores, quartz and silicon-based activities, in addition to engaging in research within a host of other fields.

“But the most important reason, in combination with technology and logistics, is that we are located in one of the most exciting areas from a geological perspective with huge potential deposits,” says Nordvåg, pointing to the earlier mining community of Ballangen as an eldorado for operation of the mines.

NGU (the Norwegian Geological Survey) is currently in Narvik to map the resources via helicopter.

“In my mind it is obvious that such an initiative should and can be based in our region,” he says.

Capital-intensive

The challenge both in Narvik and elsewhere in the region is access to risk capital.

“It is precisely therefore that Norway needs to go in for this with government backing. It’s all well and good with foreign investors, but we also need to retain Norwegian ownership,” says Nordvåg, pointing out that the opening of the copper mines in Finnmark has a possible price tag of in excess of NOK 500 million.

But the value of the copper may generate profits worth many billions.

He also points out that there are major opportunities to combine eventual mineral deposits locally with industrial development based on natural gas as an energy source.

Contact person

Managing Director Terje Nordvåg, Norut Narvik