Norway has given the green light for deep-sea mining in Arctic waters to extract minerals for everything from smartphones to electric cars, infuriating environmentalists who said the move would be catastrophic.
The vote by the Norwegian parliament on Tuesday was a formality. The minority government of the Centre and Labour parties secured backing for deep-sea mining from the opposition Conservative and Progress parties before Christmas.
The move paves the way for a new frontier in mining. Supporters claim mining the seabed could be less environmentally harmful than conventional mines, but a coalition of campaigners and other countries are seeking to ban the approach.
Companies will now be able to apply to the government for licences to explore nearly 300,000 sq km of the Norwegian sea