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Grangex’s bold vision for Europe’s third-largest mine faces geopolitical considerations in the north

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This ore possesses unique significance for advancing the green transition in the European steel industry,” emphasized Lindquist during a recent visit to Kirkenes, the northern Norwegian border town.

“Except for northern and central Sweden, there are no other mines like it in Europe,” stated the leader of Grangex at the Kirkenes Conference.

In 2023, the Swedish company announced its intention to acquire the Sydvaranger mine, which Christer Lindquist describes as the third-largest of its kind in Europe.

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Initial plans shared with the local community include reopening the century-old mine and initiating new production focused on “environmentally sustainable and economically viable iron ore production.”

While Grangex initially planned to purchase the mine for $33 million with the deal expected to close in the second half of 2023, this did not materialize. Christer Lindquist now assures the Barents Observer that “the time for the signing of the contract is near,” with production potentially commencing in 2027.

“We genuinely hope to acquire the mine. We are working on the financing, and things look promising,” Lindquist emphasized.

The far northern pits are currently owned by the U.S. investment company Orion Mine Finance, with mining operations ceasing in 2015 when the Australian-owned company Northern Iron went bankrupt.

Situated just a few kilometers from the Russian border, the Sydvaranger mining area is connected to a processing plant and seaport in Kirkenes by an 8 km long railway line.

“This mine must be reopened,” Lindquist insists, highlighting the increasing interest among investors in environmentally friendly mining.

However, Lindquist acknowledges potential challenges related to the location, particularly concerning security aspects with Russia. He notes that convincing international investors, who express concerns about the security situation, is crucial.

Recognizing the need for state involvement, Grangex is urging the Norwegian government to play a more substantial role in the project. Lindquist argues that reopening the Sydvaranger mine will generate new jobs and contribute to local security in Kirkenes.

“We are in discussions with the Norwegian prime minister and other decision-makers on how to kickstart the project and revitalize the local economy of Kirkenes. This is indeed an economic engine that can stimulate progress in the north,” Lindquist stated.

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