Europe needs unique iron ore from Kirkenes, says Swedish mine developer

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“This ore is very unique and needed for the green transition of European steel industry,” Lindquist underlined during a recent visit to Kirkenes, the north Norwegian border town.

“Except in northern and central Sweden, there are no other such mines in Europe,” the Grangex company leader said in an address at the Kirkenes Conference.

The Swedish company in 2023 announced its intention to buy the Sydvaranger mine. According to Christer Lindquist, it is the third largest of its kind in Europe.

 

The Sydvaranger mine. Photo: Atle Staalesen

 

The plans presented to the local public includes the reopening of the more than 100 year old mine and new production based on “environmentally sustainable and commercially sound iron ore production.”

Grangex originally said it would buy the mine for $33 million and that it planned to close the deal in the second half of 2023.

That did not happen. But Christer Lindquist says to the Barents Observer that “the time for the signing of the contract is near,” and that production ultimately could start in 2027.

“We really hope that we can buy the mine. We are working on the financing and it looks good,” he underlines.

Currently, the far northern pits are owned by the U.S investment company Orion Mine Finance. Mining in the area was halted in 2015 when Australian-owned company Northern Iron bankrupted.

The Sydvaranger mining area is located only a couple of kilometers from the border Russia. There is a 8 km long railway line that connects the pits with a processing plant and seaport in Kirkenes.

The Sydvaranger mines is located only a couple of kilometers from the border to Russia. Photo from Google maps

“This mine simply must be reopened,” Lindquist says and underlines that there now is a major interest among investors in green mining.

But he admits that the location might be a problem. According to the company director, several potential investors have raised the security aspects of investing in the border area to Russia.

“There is a difficult security situation [with Russia] and we are talking about international investors. Of course, we Scandinavians do not think anything will happen, but we have to convince also others,” he told the Barents Observer.

Grangex now wants the Norwegian state to take a stronger role in the project.  The reopening of the Sydvaranger mine will create new jobs and ultimately also bolster local security, Lindquist argues.

“We are talking with the Norwegian prime minister and other decision makers about how to kickstart the project and revive the local economy of Kirkenes. This is indeed an economic engine that can get things going here north.”