The Nussir copper mine is located in Kvalsund, Hammerfest municipality, not far from the North Cape in Norway. The mining company Nussir has worked for more than 15 years to establish a copper mine there.
In February 2019, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries granted Nussir permit to establish mining activities in Nussir and Gumppenjunni in the Reppar Fjord area. Copper is to be extracted from two mountain locations, Nussir and Ulveryggen.
On Monday last week, Nussir ASA conducted a targeted issue of NOK 80 million aimed at North Norwegian investors. Leonhard Nilsen & Sons (LNS) and Kimek are two of the companies that chose to buy in to the project.
High North News spoke with CEO Jonas Tetlie of LNS to hear what their thoughts on the project are.
Investment and operation
“There are two things about this for us. One is that we have signed an agreement with Nussir about operation of underground mines. Secondly, we have made a financial investment of NOK 50 million through the targeted issue last Monday. We really believe in Nussir and the people behind this project. We also believe in the future development of the price on copper, and we believe in developing the region in which this project will take place”, Tetlie says and adds:
“We are very happy that we were able to make this deal. We are much impressed with the stamina demonstrated by Nussir and, in particular, Øystein Rushfeldt [its CEO, ed.note]. We believe this is a project that suits us well in LNS. We have long experience with both tunnels and mining in the region”, Tetlie says.
Enova is a state-owned enterprise offering financial support to companies developing energy and climate technology as well as energy-efficient solutions.
Will you need Enova support to start up?
“I do not consider Enova support a precondition for starting up. This will, with time, become a fully electrified mine and that is a contributing reason why we find this an exciting project. To us, this is a groundbreaking project.”
Tetlie says LNS and Nussir are currently in dialogue with several suppliers of electrical mining machines. Some of the equipment has already been developed, whereas some of it is still in the developing phase.
When can you realistically start up?
"We envision commencing in the first half of 2021. On a project like this one, you have to first build tunnels in order to access the mountain areas where the copper ore is located. This is the job we will do first. Only when you have arrived there can you start extracting copper from the mountain. We are ready at LNS and we are well established in the mining industry already”, Tetlie says and adds:
“We believe this project will contribute to a positive development of the region. We have been to meetings with business and politicians, and we find we receive broad and solid support. We feel very welcome”, Tetlie says in closing.
It is important for us to go out and state clearly that we support the Nussir project.
Jobs in Northern Norway
High North News also spoke with Greger Mannsverk, CEO of Kimek, a Kirkenes-based company in ship repair and industrial services. Kimek bought in at the Nussir issue with NOK 2 million.
“We have much faith in this project and want to contribute with services both when it comes to operations and maintenance. It is also nice for it to have North Norwegian owners, so that not all the capital disappears from the region”, Mannsverk says and continues:
“It is important for us to go out and state clearly that we support the Nussir project, as there are plenty of those who do not. If we want people to live in Northern Norway, we have to have obs. In addition, we need copper for the green shift, and that certainly makes it great to have a project like this.”
“I think it is sad that the project should face such strong opposition. This has been processed all the way to the top in Norway and has been approved by the King during a Cabinet meeting. There is not enough focus on what we actually need to develop Northern Norway, Mannserk says in closing.
The green shift
According to the Norwegian government, the green shift requires increased extraction of various minerals, such as e.g. copper, for use in windmills, batteries, solar cells and electric cars.
The Norwegian Confederation of Enterprise, NHO, says an electric car contains three times as much copper as a similar conventional car.
Nussir aims to construct the world’s first fully electric mine, completely CO2 emission free. The project will employ 200-300 people in the operational phase.
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.