Nuviarissamut B 523
P.O. Box 156
Phone +299 66 14 94
Perspectives on project Kvanefjeld
The mining project at Kuannersuit is a unique project in southern Greenland. The mining preparatory work that has been in operation since 2007, has unveiled the world's largest deposits of rare earth metals including uranium and zinc.
Rare earth metals are a group of specialty metals with unique physical, chemical and lighting properties. An example is neodymium, which is used to produce magnets used in wind turbine industry, and batteries for hybrid cars. The rare earth metals are a prerequisite for the simultaneous development of technology and reduced emissions of CO2.
Group of rare earth metals includes 15 elements, called lanthanides: lanthanum, cerium, praseodym, promethium (is not a natural deposit), neodymium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium and lutetium. The elements yttrium and scandium are also included, since they have similar chemical properties, so a total of 17 rare earth metals.
Many electrical products powered by rechargeable batteries. One of the most efficient types of rechargeable batteries are nickel metal hydride (NiMH) used in hybrid cars and other electronic products. The alloy used for the battery's positive terminal, consist of rare earth metals and represent 26 percent of the battery weight.
Many consumer goods depend on the rare earth metals unique properties. Rare earth metals are used in wind turbines, hybrid cars, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, plasma and LCD televisions, laptops, hard drives and catalysts. A catalyst is a device mounted in the exhaust of an internal combustion engine to minimize the toxicity of its releases.
The rare earth metals are used to produce the world's strongest permanent magnets used in electrical motors.
How big is the demand?
It is expectd that the demand for rare earth metals will have increased to 180.000 tons by 2014 - a rise with 50 percent compared to the current level, which is due to a significant growth in the market for those many prouducts, containing rare earth metals. This means, that the world is in heavy demand for new and long-term stable suppilers of rare earh metals. that can satisfie the great demand.
China accounts for nearly 95 percent of world production of rare earth metals. The national demand is so high that the majority is consumed in China, and only a relatively small proportion is available for export. China has slowly but surely reduced its export quotas and increased their export tax knowing that the rare earth metals in the degree is a strategic commodity.
Unless large and stable detection of rare earth metals outside of China happen, foreign companies may be forced to relocate their production to China to get access to the rare earth metals. In the light of that the deposit on Kvanefjeld plays a significant strategic role, and the mining project will be followed with great attention in the EU and the U.S. and multinational industrial groups.
Kvanefjeld has the potential to meet the world's rapidly growing demand for rare earth metals, and thus can contribute strongly to the Greenlandic economy for many decades to come.
Greenland Minerals and Energy believes that Kvanefjeld can be the starting point for a mining area in the world that can be developed in a responsible and environmentally friendly way and become one of the world's leading sources of rare earth metals.
Map of the explortion area on Kvanefjeld - click to enlarge
The ore in Kvanefjeld contains a number of elements with a very high commercial value. The rare earth metals are the primary product and the uranium is extracted as a byproduct. The potential annual production of rare earth metals are more than 40,000 tonnes, which is ten times more than the production of the byproduct uranium oxide.
Greenland decided more than 30 years ago that there should not be exploration or mined uranium and other radioactive elements. This political decision remains valid - the so-called zero tolerance.
But the Greenlandic authorities have eased zero-tolerance a little bit and changed the standard conditions for mineral exploration, so Greenland Minerals and Energy has been allowed to continue test drilling and complete exploration work on Kvanefjeld, although there is uranium in the ore.
Greenland Minerals and Energy shall in 2012 and 2013 provide a very comprehensive documentary material to the Greenland Self Rule Mining Directorate. The documentation will show whether it's similar to other places in the world is possible to operate a mine where uranium is an inevitable by-product of an environmental and health guaranteed basis.