Early, the Norwegian government proposed opening its waters to deep-sea mining despite opposition from green campaigners and some countries. Thus, the country is trying to find new sources of economic activity.
However, the minority government faced an unexpected problem. Its main backer in parliament, the Socialist Left (SV), protested against the proposal.
Norway's minority government should withdraw its proposal to open a vast Arctic offshore area to deep sea mining and call at least a ten-year moratorium on the activity, Lars Haltbrekken, SV's spokesman on energy and environment, said.
If the Norwegian parliament approves the proposal, Norway could become the first country to make deep-sea mining happen on a commercial scale.
Under the proposal, Norway could open up mining areas in the Greenland, Norwegian and Barents Seas, which cover an area of about 280,000 square kilometers (108,000 square miles).
Deep-sea mining can produce copper and other rare earth elements. This will help make the transition away from fossil fuels.
We need minerals to succeed with the green transition, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland said.
However, environmentalists warn deep-sea mining could cause major damage to ecosystems that scientists know little about.
The Labour-led government relies on the support of the Socialist Left (SV) to pass and implement its key policies.
This time they received an unexpected rejection:
We will not vote for the proposal that the government has put forward. We think that it should be sent back to the government, Lars Haltbrekken, SV's spokesman on energy and environment, told Reuters.
We would like to have a moratorium for at least ten years so that we can find out more (about the environmental consequences) before we start digging for minerals on the seabed, he added.
Norway's minority government could still win approval for its controversial proposal with the support from the main opposition Conservative Party as well as the right-wing Progress Party.