Norway reconsiders its mining investments

Norway, the country that owes much of its wealth to oil, is reconsidering its investments in the mining industry due to environmental concerns.

Through its $840 billion sovereign fund, known as the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), the nation has cut gold and coal investments and “will review the entire mining sector this year,” Reuters reported on Friday.

The fund’s CEO Yngva Slyngstad was quick to clarify that it did not mean the country was “selling out of the sector.”

“We are concentrating our investments on the companies that we think are continuing this activity in a more sustainable way,” Slyngstad said, as reported by Reuters.

GPFG owns about 1% of all global stocks and is the biggest of its kind in the world. Last month the fund made headlines because it theoretically made every Norwegian a millionaire due to a rise in oil prices.

The Scandianavian kingdom also revelead on Friday that 2013 was its second-best year, posting a return of 15.9%.

In addition to selling its interest in 27 mining companies last year, GPFG has moved away from some European stocks in favour of emerging markets in Asia and South America, Bloomberg reported.

Last month the fund announced the exclusion of Sesa Sterlite, a subsidiary of India’s Vedanta Resources (LON:VED), from its portfolio due to “unacceptable risk of environmental damage and serious violations of human rights.”

Sesa Sterlite produces silver, copper, iron ore and a variety of other commodities across Asia ad Africa.

According to Reuters, the fund has set up a “set up a panel to examine whether the fund should quit oil, gas and coal firms over their environmental impact.”

In the past GPFG has dropped its shares in Barrick Gold, Rio Tinto, Madras Aluminium Company, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, and Norilsk Nickel among many others.