Cobalt, tellurium discovery and future development may hurt reindeer herding lands in Norway
Arctic Minerals, a Nordic mineral exploration company, said it has found cobalt and tellurium in Bidjovagge, in the north of Norway. According to Gunn-Britt Retter from the Saami Council, the development of these deposits threatens indigenous people’s traditional livelihoods.
Over the past years, exploration drilling at the Bidjovagge deposit near Kautokeino has demonstrated that this discovery has significant industrial value.
At Bidjovagge, gold and copper were mined between 1970 and 1975 and from 1985 to 1991. In 2012, the Kautokeino municipal council decided not to renew mining operations, arguing that this activity is incompatible with reindeer husbandry.
“The Saami are among those who contribute the least to what leads to climate change, yet we are among the first to be affected by the changes,” said Gunn-Britt Retter to the Barents Observer.
Global demand for both copper and cobalt is growing, pushed higher by the surging manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles. Tellurium, a by-product of the copper smelting process, is used in solar panels and is also believed to be a promising component for next-generation batteries due to its ability to support high energy density.