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Thu Aug 15, 2019, 10:51 PM

China Steps up Its Mining Interests in Greenland

...As the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to erode due to regional climate change (a paper published last month by the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concluded that ice loss on the island has been accelerating significantly since the start of this century), more parts of Greenland’s coastal regions are opening up to potential mining projects. The island is seen as an emerging source of base and precious metals as well as gemstones, uranium, and rare earth elements (REEs). Given ongoing demand for these resources in China, Chinese firms have increased their visibility in Greenland. At present, China represents over 90 percent of global rare earth extraction, but Greenland has the possibility of becoming another major hub for REE mining given estimated supplies.

Chinese investment does present economic opportunities for Greenland, which has been seeking to diversify its economy away from a concentration on seafood, as well as the annual stipend given to the Greenland government by Denmark. But there may also be considerable political effects related to growing unease in Copenhagen —and the United States, which maintains a Air Force base at Thule — regarding expanded Chinese economic diplomacy on the island.

The most visible Chinese mining joint venture in Greenland thus far has been the Kvanefjeld Project in southern Greenland, namely a planned uranium and REE (neodymium, dysprosium, and yttrium, among others) mine, overseen by Australia-based Greenland Minerals, in partnership with China’s Shenghe Resources, which specializes in REE extraction. In 2016, the two parties agreed to give the Chinese firm a 12.5 percent stake in the project. In August of last year, Greenland Minerals completed a memorandum of understanding with Shenghe, which would see the latter firm take the lead in the processing and marketing of material extracted from the Kvanefjeld site....

In addition to the Kvanefjeld site, a Chinese firm is also part of a partnership with the Australian firm Ironbark for a zinc mining project at Citronen Fjord in Greenland’s far north, and a Hong Kong company currently owns the mining rights for an iron deposit at Isua. In the area of fossil fuels, two Chinese energy firms, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) expressed interest in bidding for onshore oil and gas blocks opening up for surveys in western Greenland in 2021....


https://thediplomat.com/2019/02/china-steps-up-its-mining-interests-in-greenland/

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