Regulation News

Norwegian Continental Shelf Open for Seabed Mining

Norwegian Continental Shelf Open for Seabed Mining

On January 9, 2024, the Norwegian government passed a bill that will permit commercial marine mining activities across an extensive area of the seabed—a defined zone of 280,000 sq km (108,000 sq miles)—in the northern Norwegian Sea.

In a statement, the Norwegian Offshore Directorate, which has played an instrumental role in coordinating the work needed to prospect mining activities in Norway’s national waters, explained that the decision is backed by years of scientific research: “We’ve mapped vast areas in the northern Norwegian Sea since 2017. We’ve taken samples and collected data about minerals and metals found on the seabed. We’ve done this by means of our own expeditions and in cooperation with expert communities at the universities in Tromsø and Bergen.”

While the final decision is still subject to a Royal Decree, January’s parliamentary approval follows overwhelming cross-party support for the bill in December 2023.

Next Steps

Despite the major advancement, the Norwegian government will continue to take a cautious, informed approach to all proposed marine mining activities.

No company will be able to execute any at-sea extraction operations until they have had a developer’s license approved in a thorough due diligence process that includes submitting a fully scoped proposal backed with multiple environmental impact assessment studies.

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