Storting, the Norwegian parliament, has backed the Government’s proposal to open parts of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) for exploration and production of seabed minerals.

The parliament will issue a final resolution in the form of a Royal Decree.

Norwegian Offshore Directorate has contributed to the opening process by coordinating work on the impact assessment and preparing a resource assessment.

The agency said that it has mapped large areas in the northern Norwegian Sea since 2017.

It has taken samples and collected data about minerals and metals found on the seabed, in cooperation with expert communities at the universities in Tromsø and Bergen.

According to the Norwegian Offshore Directorate, Seabed minerals contain sulphides, manganese crusts and manganese nodules, formed in the deep reaches of the ocean.

On the NCS, the seabed contains sulphides and manganese crusts, with metals and minerals that are crucial for technology, such as batteries, wind turbines, PCs and mobile phones.

Norway’s Ministry of Energy (MOE) has tasked the offshore directorate to map the most commercially interesting mineral deposits on the NCS.

The directorate said that sediments on the seabed contain certain elements required by new industries, such as aslithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese and certain rare earth minerals.

It has conducted analyses of sulphides which showed high contents of copper, zinc and cobalt, along with rare earth elements in samples from manganese crusts.

Norwegian Offshore Directorate in its statement said: “These are important metals in the effort to further electrify society, and they are in high demand in the industry. The content of some of these metals is high compared with deposits from other places around the world.

“A mineral consists of chemical compounds of one or more different elements and occur naturally. Such elements can include various metals such as copper, zinc and cobalt.”