GEUS – Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
Luleå University of Technology
NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology
University of Iceland
University of Tromsø
Supply of non-energy raw materials is essential to the global economy and to maintain our quality of life. They are also vital for the Nordic economy and for the development of environmentally friendly technologies that are essential to downstream Nordic industry. To fully meet future societal needs, metals and mineral products from both primary and secondary resources are required.
The Nordic countries, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, and Northwest-Russia possess huge resources of a variety of minerals, such as iron ore, base metals, rare earth minerals and different industry minerals.
The Norwegian Geological Survey has estimated the value of those resources to be in the range of 1500-2000 BNOK in Norway alone.
The mineral base in the Arctic region of Scandinavia and Greenland is of particular interest, and the oldest rock formations, so-called Archean formations, contain in important mineral assets in the world as gold, nickel, zinc, lead, copper and diamond deposits.
The Nordic countries have several ongoing research initiatives in the area of new ways of mining. Much of the research is focused on environmental and social sustainability. Regional issues are of specific concern to the mining industry and there is an urgent need to define the primary drivers, the three pillars of sustainability and emerging technologies and services from a local perspective.
In order to fulfil the needs, the potential technologies, services and business concepts should be identified and evaluated during the whole life-cycle. The industry’s environmental load has traditionally been studied in relation to the production, not in relation to changes in the technology that is deployed in various phases of the resource operation (i.e. exploration, mining, processing etc.). It is no longer enough to measure and report the different emissions; instead there is a need to recognize the environmental effects and impact of all aspects of the mining industry and its implication for societies. The mining sector is strongly constrained by local geological conditions and mine specific technological solutions, but also by public perception of different aspects of the developments. To improve public-private communication and to resolve socioenvironmental conflicts in the long term it is therefore important to understand the dynamics of local and regional environmental issues and their social context. To ensure the relevance to society, involvement of users will be a high priority.
The program's overarching ambition to create pathways to action will be achieved by emphasizing close interaction with multiple stakeholders. Several methodological approaches could be used, including participatory work with local communities, scenario-building, economic modelling, involvement with policy makers, and projections of probable and desirable Arctic futures. The program will support investigation of issues such as consequences of development for local communities, and for society in a broader sense, and how future extraction of resources can generate jobs and social and economic benefits for the local communities.
The proposed Nordic Centre of Excellence on sustainable development of mineral resources in the Nordic arctic region – NordMinCoE – will advance research, education and training, industrial strategy and public policy, and promote dialogue between stakeholders in support of a wider and deeper understanding. The centre will draw together and integrate diverse ideas, capabilities and experiences in order to generate new knowledge, approaches, and solutions for the Nordic mining industry.
The primary objective of the centre is to organize and carry out problem-based analysis, social science research, technological development and public policy dialogue in support of the Nordic mining industry. To fully achieve this goal, the centre will pursue three secondary objectives:
a. To create a Nordic hub for research, education and technological development in the area of sustainable mining in the Arctic;
b. To establish an arena for open dialogue between stakeholders, merging the competence of participating organizations within technology, the natural and social sciences, and the humanities, with the interests of the Arctic residents, regarding cultural identity, community development, job creation, land use, land ownership, and ownership of natural resources;
c. To promote long-term education and capacity-building in all areas vital to the
development of the industry in a safe and sustainable way.