EU and Norway Forge Strategic Partnership on Raw Materials and Batteries

by | 22. Mar 2024 - 09:30 | Politics

The bloc will also be attentive to deep-sea mining developments.

The European Union and Norway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday to launch a strategic partnership on developing sustainable land-based raw materials and battery value chains. According to a statement by the European Commission, the partnership will facilitate joint investments and collaborations in the sector to bolster the European raw materials industry and render the two economies more resilient to supply chain disruptions.

The caveat of “land-based” likely addresses Norway’s recent push to accelerate its deep-sea mining efforts. The EU and individual member states such as Germany have repeatedly called for a memorandum on issuing exploration rights until environmental impacts have been better assessed. However, the signing of the MoU on Thursday was also accompanied by the EU’s Green Deal chief, Maroš Šefčovič, who also signed the strategic partnership, saying that the bloc will be “attentive to the developments of deep sea mining in Norway and also around the world,” Bloomberg reports. Šefčovič added that more mineral mining must happen to fuel the green and digital transition, highlighting the quandary countries around the world face: balancing mining with environmental efforts. Besides deep-sea resources, Norway is also home to significant land-based resources, which it is currently trying to develop, for example, the Fen rare earth deposit in the southeastern region of Telemark.

Nations on the path to net zero need critical minerals for clean energy fields, for example, but are increasingly dependent on imports from foreign partners. The EU is currently attempting to address this discrepancy with the Critical Raw Materials Act, which sets out domestic mining, processing, and recycling targets. Despite not being in the EU, Norway could nonetheless become an important partner to achieve these targets.

Photo: Hendrich

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