Swedish developer plans to build greenest iron mine in Kirkenes

The Sydvaranger mine in Kirkenes are bought by Swedish development company Grangex. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Development company Grangex AO buys the Sydvaranger iron ore mine and says it aims for emission-free extraction.

“We intend to build the greenest possible iron ore mine,” says Christer Lindqvist, CEO of Grangex, and points at the company’s Dannemora project in Sweden, where a zero-emission target is pursued.

“We want to do the same thing with Sydvaranger,” he says to the Barents Observer.

“This will position Grangex as a leading developer of high-grade, low carbon pellet feed production in Scandinavia and key supplier to green steel production,” Grangex informs.

The Swedish company this week announced that it buys the north Norwegian mine from U.S investment company Orion Mine Finance for a price of $33 million.

The deal is anticipated to close in second half of 2023, the company informs.

The Sydvaranger mine used to be the economic cornerstone of the north Norwegian municipality located along the borders to Russia and Finland until it closed in the mid-1990s.

In the period 2009-2015, production was shortly resumed by Australian company Northern Iron. Since then, the mine has stood idle.

The Sydvaranger is known for its ultra-high-grade magnetite iron ore concentrate with low impurities.

The Sydvaranger processing plant is old and in dire need of upgrade. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

According to experts, there are still vast reserves or ore in the area. But the resources are deep in the ground. As much as 400 million tons of rock will have to be removed before the miners get access to the ore, mining documents reveal.

Christer Lindqvist does not want to say whether Grangex intends to turn to underground mining instead of the current open pit. But he admits that underground mining is best “in a long-term perspective.”

He also does not want to reveal any specific time schedule for the re-opening of the mine, but underlines that the company intends to start production “as soon as possible.” Grangex cooperates closely with companies Anglo American and the Tschudi Group. The latter previously owned the mine and today remains in control of local infrastructure, including a seaport terminal.

Environment will be on top of the agenda, Lindqvist underlines.

The Sydvaranger mine is connected with railway to a processing plant in Kirkenes. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

“Grangex is delighted to lead this pioneering Nordic cooperation in one of Norway’s most important regions at a crucial time in Europe’s quest for self-reliance in the minerals space. Being well on our way to successfully develop the Dannemora project, we will now proceed with the same speed, energy, and enthusiasm to start an environmentally sustainable and commercially sound iron ore production at Sydvaranger, ” he says.

Among the measures will be replacement of trucks using diesel fuel with truck running on hydrogen, he explains.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada’s Northwest Territories needs user-friendly public registry for oil and gas, says MLA, CBC News

Norway: Arctic Economic Council appoints new Chair, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Chinese investors could finance Murmansk LNG, The Independent Barents Observer

United StatesCompanies announce investment in major Alaska oil project, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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