Norway Opens Public Consultation for First Seabed Minerals Licensing Round

Government Proposes Exploration Zones on Continental Shelf to Assess Sustainable…

Seabed Minerals

Government Proposes Exploration Zones on Continental Shelf to Assess Sustainable Mineral Extraction for Green Transition

Norway Announces Public Consultation for First Licensing Round of Seabed Minerals

Norway’s Ministry of Energy has launched a public consultation for the announcement of the first licensing round for seabed minerals on the Norwegian continental shelf. This marks a significant step towards exploring the potential for sustainable mineral extraction to support the global green transition.

Proposal and Areas of Interest

The proposal delineates specific areas where companies can apply for exploitation licenses, enabling initial exploration and data collection to determine the feasibility of sustainable mineral extraction on the Norwegian shelf. The identified areas comprise 386 blocks, representing approximately 38% of the region opened for exploration in April.

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Government and Parliamentary Support

Minister of Energy Terje Aasland emphasized the necessity of minerals for the green transition and Norway’s commitment to exploring sustainable extraction methods. “The world needs minerals for the green transition, and the government wants to explore if it is possible to extract seabed minerals in a sustainable manner from the Norwegian continental shelf,” Aasland stated. He highlighted that a large majority of the Norwegian Parliament supports this step-by-step approach to managing seabed minerals.

Environmental Considerations and Management Strategy

Environmental considerations are prioritized at every stage of the activities. In June 2023, the government presented a comprehensive proposal, endorsed by Parliament, to open an area on the Norwegian continental shelf for seabed mineral activities and outlined a management strategy. The King in Council formally opened an area in the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea for mineral activities on April 12, 2024.

Norway’s Strategic Advantage

“Access to minerals is crucial to ensure that the world succeeds with the transition to a low-emission society. Minerals from the Norwegian seabed can become a source to meet parts of this demand,” added Aasland. He emphasized Norway’s long experience with responsible and sustainable management of ocean-based resources, positioning the country to lead in the sustainable extraction of seabed minerals.

Industry Input and Public Consultation

The Norwegian Offshore Directorate, tasked with preparing the proposal, consulted with industry stakeholders to identify the most promising areas for exploration. The current proposal, based on these consultations, is now open for public input. The consultation process is a critical step before the planned awarding of licenses in the first half of 2025.

Moving Forward

This initiative underscores Norway’s commitment to the responsible and sustainable management of its seabed mineral resources. The outcomes of this public consultation and subsequent exploration efforts will play a pivotal role in determining the feasibility and environmental impact of seabed mineral extraction, potentially setting a global standard for sustainable practices in this emerging industry.

For further information and to participate in the public consultation, stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to visit the Ministry of Energy’s official website.

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