BarentsObserver has over the latest few years reported about mining investment plans worth billions of euros over the next decades. Prospects and soon-to-start mining explorations are found in all four Barents countries Sweden, Finland, Russia and Norway.
The questions investors asked last week was obvious: Are the upstarting costs too high to gain sustainable economy into new mining in the high north?
It was last Thursday that Northern Resources had to tell its investors that it has identified a large funding shortfall and is planning an offering of new debt and equity to raise up to €316 million. Investors that until last week strongly believed in the company’s iron-ore mine in Kaunisvaara were all shocked. The stock has since then fell by 86 percent and continued down Monday morning, with a drop by 20 percent at the stock market in Frankfurt and 26 percent in Oslo the first hour of trade.
Kaunisvaara is just outside Pajala in the Swedish, Finnish borderland. Another mine is planned to open later in Hannukainen near Kolari on the Finnish side of the border.
Northland Resources says in a press-release that the additional funding will be used for fund capital and operating expenditure related to the Kaunisvaara Project and associated logistic chain, and general corporate purposes, including the Hannukainen project and transaction costs.
The production start-up phase has so far been way more expensive than expected.
Another iron-ore mine that is experiencing higher start-up costs and more challenging technical difficulties is Sydvaranger Gruve in Kirkenes near Norway’s border to Russia. After production re-started some few years ago, the company was forced to issue new shares to fund operational improvements and provide financial flexibility for its operation. Several of the mine’s shareholders are now looking for a way out and are offering to sell if they get the right prize.
Sydvaranger Gruve is own by Northern Iron Limited, registered on the Australian stock exchange.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.