Norwegian parliament has secured a majority – Labour-led government has made a deal with two opposition parties – for the plan to open Barents and Greenland sea to mineral exploration that would allow seabed mining. This was reported at the press conference after the Government agreed on the plan. If this comes into life, Norway will be among the first countries in the world to open up for commercial seabed mineral mining.
“Extraction of seabed minerals is a very promising industry, which we believe can create great value and jobs in Norway in the future, – the Norwegian Conservative party press release states. “In order to achieve this, it is important that we make it possible for companies to invest in the Norwegian continental shelf”.
“The renewable green industries run on minerals, – Baard Ludvig Thorheim (Conservative MP) told journalists at the press conference. – “This is an important contribution internationally,” he added.
But the Environmental spokesperson for the Socialist Left party Lars Haltbrekken warned about unknown consequences of the sea mining plan:
“It is unfathomable that Norwegian authorities are first in line to destroy the seabed. Environmental researchers have issued strong warnings. We have no idea about the consequences of such operations, and no environmental requirements have been posed for the activity,” Haltbrekken told Adresseavisen.
Environmental activists also see an immense danger in the sea-bed mining.
“This is a disaster for the sea”, says Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway in the interview posted on the Greenpeace website,
“Norway is now allowing irreversible interventions in areas where nature is completely unknown. The only thing the government is afraid of is that China will outcompete Norway, not the consequences for marine life. It is unacceptable”.
But the government assured the public that it is still in the process of assessing the risks.
“Environmental requirements, environmental mapping in the exploration phase, and the government’s responsibility are specified in the agreement, where the authorities, in advance of any extraction, must create an updated and compiled knowledge base on effects on the environment,” states in the Conservative party press release.
Other MPs also warn about the necessity to make sure that there is no disastrous damage to the environment. Marianne Sivertsen Næss from the Labor Party said knowledge about the ecosystems and seabed conditions during the research must be gathered:
”We have been concerned with this being an opening that will ensure that we will find out whether it is possible to extract minerals in a profitable, sustainable and responsible way,” Marianne Sivertsen said.
But eco-activists are still determined to fight against the plan: “We (Greenpeace) will work against any mining project that comes to the Government for consideration, – Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway says – We are not going to let Norway destroy the last untouched nature in our waters”.