Norway’s mega deposit of phosphorus: material for batteries and fertilizers for years

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Sweden and Norway thanks to them, Europe will be independent from abroad in this area automotive, battery and renewable energy. First the great discovery of a huge rare earth deposit in Kiruna in Swedish Lapland, now an equally extraordinary discovery mineralized phosphate rock in southern Norway. It is the largest underground deposit of this material in the world critical raw material (as defined by the European Commission), able to satisfy global demand for electric car batteries, solar panels and fertilizers over the next 50 years.

They would be 70 billion tons identified underground, 20 more than the field in Morocco, which until recently was thought to be the largest on Earth. Important but decidedly smaller deposits (between 2 and 3 billion tonnes) are also found in China, Egypt and Algeria. The deposit was originally discovered in 2018, it was thought to be 300 meters deep, but over time the data was refined until it was concluded that the deposit extends up to 4500 meters underground. It will not be possible to mine to this depth due to current technological limits. The available volume should reach a maximum of 1500 meters below the surface.


The discovery is really great news“, a spokesperson for the European Commission admitted, “would contribute to the Commission’s objectives of the proposed Critical Raw Materials Act“.”Critical” as mentioned earlier because phosphorus is used in key sectors of the economy starting withagriculture which even uses 90% of the total amount for fertilizer production. It is also essential to create Solar PanelsOf lithium-iron-phosphate batteries for electric cars and semiconductors.

The historical period we are living in, made up of strong geopolitical tension between blocks of countries, requires less dependence on the outside of raw materials, and the discovery of the Norwegian deposit should be interpreted just like this: will guarantee autonomy to Europe for half a century at least while keeping prices low.


However, there is one environmental problem some significance: countries like the Netherlands, which have stopped refining phosphorus in the past due to the strong impact this activity has had on the ecosystem. However, the company that controls the deposit – Norge Mining – believes it has the right know-how to mine and refine the mineral in a more environmentally friendly way than the Netherlands has done in the past and China, Vietnam and Kazakhstan still do.

Norway has already provided green light for mining activitiesbut the European Union brake on the accelerated approval process, as it considers phosphorus a raw material criticism but not strategic. However, a permit from Brussels will be essential to reduce the time that usually elapses between discovery and first mining (between 10 and 15 years). Meanwhile, there is no shortage of funds: various European, American and Japanese entities have expressed interest, including “two major aircraft manufacturerswho would like to access the extraction titaniumalso present (albeit to a limited extent) within the deposit.

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