A Norwegian study has found an extensive amount of metals and minerals ranging from copper to rare earths, authorities said on Friday.
These resources are in high demand due to their role transitioning in to a greener economy.
Norway is now considering whether to open its offshore areas to deep-sea mining. A process that requires parliament’s approval and has sparked environmental concerns, but could make Europe less dependent on China.
As China’s mining capacity expanded, rare earth producers moved their production to China. This makes China the largest manufacturer of rare earth metals. The country is occupying 80% of the global supply that is essential to much of today’s high-end tech.
“Rare minerals are extremely important for magnets in wind turbines and the engines in electric vehicles,” said the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), which conducted the study.
Several of the metals found, including rare earth minerals, are on the European Commission’s list of critical minerals, according to the NPD.
Environmental groups have called on Norway to suspend its mineral exploration until more studies have been conducted. Meanwhile, The International Seabed Authority, that oversees the deep-sea mining sector, is expected to announce regulations for the industry in July.
Many scientists have warned that mining the deep sea could have huge and irreversible consequences for the fragile ecosystem.