A huge phosphorite deposit has been discovered in Norway containing enough minerals to meet global demand for batteries and solar panels over the next 100 years, according to the mining company that controls the deposit.
Norge Mining said that up to 70 billion tons of non-renewable resources may have been discovered in the southwest of Norway, along with deposits of other strategic minerals such as titanium and vanadium.
Phosphorite contains high concentrations of phosphorus, which is a key ingredient for the development of green technologies but currently faces significant supply issues.
The German scientist Hennig Brandt discovered phosphorus in 1669 while searching for the Philosopher’s Stone. Although it is ineffective for turning common metals into gold, it has become an important component of lithium iron phosphate batteries in electric vehicles, as well as solar cells and computer chips.
Russia previously controlled the world’s largest deposits of ultra-pure phosphate rock, and the European Union has warned that this “critical raw material” is at high supply risk.
The EU is now almost entirely dependent on imports of phosphate rock from the rest of the world, according to a report by The Hague Center for Strategic Studies, with large deposits also found in China, Iraq and Syria.
The report, which was published before the discovery of the huge Norwegian mine, warned that the EU should be “worried about the lack of phosphorite”.
Article in a scientific journal Nature last year he warned of imminent phosphorus supply disruptions, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent economic sanctions as a potential cause of market volatility.
The global economy consumes about 50 million tons of phosphorus each year, and earlier this year scientists warned that the planet could face a “phosphorus apocalypse” if the supply trend continues.
“The buyers market is becoming increasingly crowded with limited trading due to political instability in several supplying countries, as well as international sanctions imposed on others,” Norge Mining noted in a June blog post. “This makes importers wary of a looming crisis.”
Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre said last month that the government was considering speeding up the operation of the giant mine in Helleland after a 76-kilometer (47-mile) core was analyzed. If the permit is granted, the first major mine could start operating in 2028.
The politician noted that Norway’s “commitment” was to develop “the most sustainable mining industry in the world” after the discovery of minerals.
Mining plans have already received support from the European Raw Materials Alliance, according to local reports, while regional consultations continue.
A European Commission spokesman called the find “big news” to meet the Commission’s commodities goals, and Norge Mining told Euractiv that the proposed 4,500-meter (14,700 ft) orebody could theoretically meet global demand in the next century. .
Translation Michel Padilla