Critical Metals

Although Greenland has been known as a source of uranium for many years, recent developments for rare earth extraction could not be much timelier.

By Damon van der Linde – Exclusive to Rare Earth Investing News

Although Greenland has been known as a source of uranium for many years, its recent development as a base for rare earth extraction could not be much timelier. China has reduced export quotas for rare earths every year since the start of the decade, and this is worrying to Japan, South Korea and some European nations, which have plans to make advancements in new markets such as electric cars and wind turbines, markets that require REEs.

In August of 2010, Greenland’s government partially changed a decades-old ban on the mining of radioactive material. This is one of the most significant acts since gaining limited autonomy from Denmark a year ago, especially when considering the vast amount of prospecting for minerals on the island including gold, nickel, platinum, coal, diamonds, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, iron, niobium, tantalum, and rare earth elements (REEs). Greenland is also host to varying quantities of radioactive elements – particularly uranium and thorium, which are sometimes found in the same sites as other minerals.

The government still severely restricts  any exploration specifically for radioactive elements, but has softened its policy to allow companies which have found mineral resources containing radioactive elements to produce environment impact assessments and social assessments.

“The Greenland government has modified its stance by saying that if you are looking for something else, let’s say gold, and you find a little bit of uranium with it, that’s not going to stop you from continuing your exploration for gold, if that’s your main purpose,” said Dr. Peter Brown, Chief Geologist Dr. Peter Brown, Chief Geologist for NunaMinerals.

NunaMinerals (CPH:NUNA) is partially owned by the Government of Greenland (33.7 percent) and has two exclusive exploration licenses for potential rare earth element projects covering carbonatites.

NunaMinerals recently released its full-year results, posting losses in 2010 and announcing it would seek a dual stock market listing within the next two years. The company is currently only listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange. The report said that rare earth elements exploration would be a priority in 2011, it said, noting copper and gold projects were also in high demand. Brown says that the company is planning to invest around 2/3 of its 2011 budget into drilling projects for rare earths.

“Greenland has potential. In general, it’s still what you might call an unexplored frontier,” said Brown.

Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd. (ASX:GGG) is another company operating in Greenland, with a focus on a massive multi-element deposit on the southwest tip of the island. The company claims that the project – currently in pre-feasibility studies – could supply more than 20 percent of the world’s REE demand once it is operational. Recent figures show China alone supplies 96.7 percent of the world’s REE demands.

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