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Plans to revive Sydvaranger mine: Grangex eyes reopening for green transition in European steel industry

During a recent visit to Kirkenes, the northern Norwegian border town, Lindquist emphasized the crucial role of a unique ore in driving the green transition within the European steel industry.

He highlighted the rarity of such mines in Europe, apart from those in northern and central Sweden, during an address at the Kirkenes Conference.

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Grangex, a Swedish company, had announced its intention to purchase the Sydvaranger mine in 2023, which is touted to be the third largest of its kind in Europe.

Initial plans included reopening the century-old mine and implementing environmentally sustainable and commercially viable iron ore production.

Despite an initial plan to purchase the mine for $33 million and close the deal in the latter half of 2023, this did not materialize. However, Lindquist assured the Barents Observer that the contract signing is imminent, with production potentially commencing by 2027.

While currently owned by U.S. investment company Orion Mine Finance, mining operations at the far northern pits ceased in 2015 following the bankruptcy of Australian-owned company Northern Iron.

Situated just a few kilometers from the Russian border, the Sydvaranger mining area is connected to a processing plant and seaport in Kirkenes via an 8 km long railway line.

Lindquist emphasized the necessity of reopening the mine, citing significant investor interest in sustainable mining practices. However, concerns about the security implications of investing in a border area with Russia have been raised by potential investors.

Grangex is advocating for increased involvement from the Norwegian state in the project. According to Lindquist, the revival of the Sydvaranger mine would not only create new job opportunities but also enhance local security.

Discussions with the Norwegian prime minister and other decision-makers are underway to explore ways to kickstart the project and revitalize the economy of Kirkenes, positioning it as an economic driver in the northern region.

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