LONDON (Reuters) - Nussir ASA is considering listing its shares in Oslo this year after signing a deal with local officials that allows it to build the world's first fully electric copper mine in the Arctic, its chief executive told Reuters.
The project, located in Norway's northern Kvalsund area, has faced opposition from indigenous Sami herders and fishermen who say the mine could damage summer reindeer pastures and destroy spawning grounds for coastal cod.
But in a statement on Thursday, Nussir said the mine had signed a cooperation agreement with the local Hammerfest municipality.
"We have been successful in reaching very strong support from the local community," chief executive Øystein Rushfeldt said.
As part of the deal with the municipality, Nussir committed to boosting the local economy by using local suppliers and providing jobs, thereby helping to remedy the population decline that has hit Hammerfest's Sami people.
Rushfeldt said a final decision on whether to float its shares will be made in spring.
Referring to the listing, he said: "It's something that could happen this year once decided."
"We are seeing with high copper prices and interest in the market for IPO's in particular on the Norwegian Euronext Growth exchange which has really boomed in the last year."
Cyprus-based Seabird Exploration listed its deep-sea mining arm Green Minerals on Tuesday on the Euronext Growth Oslo, which aims to promote growth among smaller companies.
The Nussir project was approved in February 2019 and has been viewed as a litmus test for the Arctic, where climate change and technology are enabling mineral and energy extraction, shipping and tourism, but threatening traditional ways of life.
Tailings from the mine, which has a 10-year supply agreement with Germany's Aurubis, will be deposited at the bottom of the fjord using pipelines and will not disturb any marine life, Rushfeldt said.
The project hosts 80 million tonnes of copper and is carrying out an electrification study to avoid the use of diesel on site, which accounts for much of the emissions from mines.
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)