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Norge Mineraler’s high-purity phosphate discovery in Norway to propel EU’s energy transition

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The discovery of a significant igneous phosphate deposit in Norway by the mining company Norge Mineraler positions it as a crucial supplier of raw materials essential for the European Union’s (EU) energy transition. The deposit, located in Eigersund, is confirmed to contain 3.4 billion tonnes of Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC)-compliant resources. This includes not only phosphate but also vanadium and titanium.

Phosphate rock from this deposit is particularly valuable due to its high purity of over 96%, a stark contrast to the more common sedimentary phosphate, which is laden with impurities like carbonates, silicates, and heavy metals. Such impurities necessitate additional and costly purification processes that are also energy-intensive. The high purity of Norge’s igneous phosphate allows for a more straightforward extraction process, yielding purer phosphoric acid and reducing the environmental impact.

Phosphoric acid, derived from phosphate rock, is a key component in various industries, including agriculture, mining, aviation, and especially in the production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs). The high purity of phosphoric acid from igneous phosphate ensures optimal performance and longevity of LFP batteries, making it crucial for the EV market.

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Moreover, sedimentary phosphate deposits often produce contaminated by-products such as gypsum and raffinate, which pose significant disposal and environmental challenges. These issues are compounded by the stringent EU regulatory environment, making igneous phosphate a more viable option for European producers.

Norge Mineraler aims to address the supply chain challenges by establishing an integrated value chain of critical raw materials in Europe. The company’s approach includes developing one of the first fully electrified mines in Europe, utilizing renewable energy to produce zero-carbon critical raw materials. This initiative is part of a collaboration with ABB to explore the electrification, automation, and digitalization of the mining and downstream operations, enhancing sustainability and cost-efficiency from the outset.

This strategic move not only aligns with the EU’s regulatory requirements but also addresses the geopolitical challenges posed by the embargo on Russian materials, ensuring a stable and secure supply of critical raw materials for the region. The prefeasibility study for this ambitious project is expected to be published in the third quarter, marking a significant step towards meeting the growing demand for high-purity phosphorous and other critical materials necessary for the energy transition and beyond.

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