The Norwegian Parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of allowing mineral exploration and exploitation on the deep seabed, edging Norway closer to becoming the first country in the world to initiate commercial deep-sea mining.
With a decisive vote reflecting broad cross-party support, the proposal is set to accelerate the search for seabed minerals. According to Norway’s national broadcaster NRK, most members of parliament are convinced that mining operations can be profitable, sustainable and environmentally responsible.
The focus area spans 281,000 square km across the Barents Sea and the Greenland Sea. Earlier reports from the Norwegian Offshore Directorate highlighted the rich mineral resources on Norway’s continental shelf.
Some parties voted against the decision, saying that Norway lacks knowledge about the marine environment in 99 percent of the area that it plans to open for deep-sea mining.
The decision was also met with an immediate backlash from environmental groups including Greenpeace, who criticized the Norwegian government for disregarding environmental concerns. ■