- Society needs minerals

Håvard Gautneb ved en bokreol.
Håvard is passionate about minerals and has a lot of literature on it. Photo by Lina Bøe, NGU.
One field book per season. Such was the golden age! Håvard Gautneb's colorful field books are neatly stacked on his top office shelf. Gautneb describes the changes in work methods he has witnessed during his time at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU).

The golden age at NGU

- When I started here, the field season was an unwavering part of the work year. We were outside for at least one month straight, every single summer. Then we took our vacation in the fall! I call these years, from NGU's earlier days to the late '90s, the golden age. I am among the last at NGU today who experienced this era before digital methods took over.

Fieldwork is still absolutely central to geological work. However, digital advances have changed many aspects of both the methods and available data.

- Have to learn something new every day

- What astonishes me is the continuous necessity to always learn something new. Not just that, the nature of the job requires that we constantly learn. Every single day, for almost forty years, I have learned. Not that everything has been useful, of course. Not everything is worth remembering either. I have embraced a wide range of topics and never became a specialist. But I have always learned.

Håvard is a knowledgeable geologist. Today, the connecting dots between society's need for raw materials and geological knowledge drive his work.

Minerals must be extracted where they are

- Society needs minerals. Critical minerals must be extracted where they are, just like other natural resources. Each year, an average person uses hundreds of kilograms of mineral resources. The metals we extract are present in very small concentrations in the bedrock, often only a few percent or tenths of a percent. Thus, up to 99 percent of the production can end up as waste material.

- Production clearly affects nature around us. At the same time, it was the proximity to nature that initially sparked my interest in geology. When I was a child, my parents took me hiking every single Saturday and Sunday, Håvard recalls.