Report: The Nordic Countries Have Good Potential for Sustainable Production of Critical Metals and Minerals as Europe Moves to Green Energy

Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) was involved in a study of the Nordic bedrock raw materials which can cover a significant part of almost all the metals and minerals needed for Europe’s transition to a low-carbon society.

“So far, recycling can only cover a small part of the metals and minerals needed for the transition to a society free from fossil energy. Sustainable mining, as well as research and development of new recycling opportunities for industrial side streams, is therefore essential. It’s great that the Nordic Ministers of Economic Affairs have decided to strengthen cooperation in sustainable mineral production,” says Kimmo Tiilikainen, Director General, GTK.  

Kimmo Tiilikainen presented the report at a meeting of the ministers of economic affairs of the Nordic Council of Ministers on Thursday 16 September 2021. The study was commissioned by Nordic Innovation under the Council of Ministers. Preliminary assessments were carried out by the Nordic geological surveys, the National Energy Authority of Iceland, the University of Reykjavik, the Greenland Ministry of Mineral Resources and the Norwegian Directorate of Mining. 

“This new report points out the Nordic perspective; together as a region we can be part of a solution to the CRM supply challenge,” says Håkan Lind, Senior Innovation Advisor, Nordic Innovation.  

Need for further research, interaction and cooperation

The study covered the land areas of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Greenland. The material used in the study is based on separate data sources from each of the Nordic countries.  

“At present, there is no common Nordic way of reporting resources in the bedrock, and a comprehensive picture of the whole situation remains incomplete. This is especially true for critical minerals and metals. This study is an excellent start for development,” says Pasi Eilu, Senior Scientist, Geological Survey of Finland.  

To utilise the resources, a comprehensive public Nordic database of mineral resources and mineral potential is needed to support joint Nordic decision making. 

“It is also important to determine the need for all the metals and minerals required for the transition to green energy. This also includes mineral raw materials that have not (yet) been classified as critical in the Nordic countries, in the EU or globally,” stresses Saku Vuori, Director, Science and Innovations, GTK. 

Another essential issue is the recovery of critical raw materials from industrial side streams and recycled materials, and the creation of sustainable production from this. Research and development related to this issue is carried out at the GTK Mintec pilot plant and laboratories, for example.  

The report is financed by Nordic Innovation as part of their Sustainable Minerals program. Nordic Innovation is an organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers and works to make the Nordics a pioneering region for sustainable growth by promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness in Nordic businesses.

Further information

Link to the report

Saku Vuori, Director, Science and Innovations
Geological Survey of Finland
Tel.: +358 29 5032 459 

Pasi Eilu, Senior Scientist
Geological Survey of Finland
Tel.: +358 29 5032 565

Geological Survey of Finland: Solutions for more sustainable growth

The Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) produces impartial and objective research data and services in support of decision-making in industry, academia, and wider society. GTK employs more than 400 experts specialising in the mineral economy, circular economy, solutions related to energy, water and the environment, as well as digital solutions. GTK is a research institution governed by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, operating in Finland and globally.