Government of Greenland deputy minister Jørgen T. Hammeken-Holm joined forces with Greenland government geologists to profile the exploration potential of the autonomous Danish territory at an event held in Perth this week.
Speakers at the annual event, held a day after the Australian Nickel Conference on Tuesday, emphasized the underexplored nature of the territory and shared their views very large deposits could still be discovered in the constituent country moving towards independence from Denmark.
Hammeken-Holm spoke on behalf of new Mineral Resources Minister Erik Jensen, saying: “We offer you free, world-class secure scientific data to support your exploration.
“We are well aware that we need (data to be) internationally competitive allowing you to attract the investment that we need in exploration and consequently mining.”
The deputy resources minister said the government was evaluating its performance.
Jensen said: “We have found companies are generally satisfied with the way that we administer exploration but we also know we have to improve handling of exploitation permits and that is something that we intend to do.
“We are not sitting back waiting, we are evaluating how we perform and we are acting on that.”
Greenland Mineral Resources Ministry geologists Julie Hollis and Anna Vass were among the government speakers during the first session, taking the stage to stress the prospectivity of the country and its wealth of exploration data.
Curtin University’s Chris Kirkland shared insights about geological processes from Greenland’s geochronology database which is easily found with a quick Google for “Greenland portal”.
Ministry of Mineral Resources geology department head Hollis spoke about the country’s underexplored diamond prospectivity during session two while Vass, who is responsible for marketing the country's mineral prospectivity, spoke about northeast Greenland’s potential.
Participants heard about Greenland’s licensing terms from the Mineral Licensing and Safety Authority’s (MLSA) Klaus Kuch Jensen.
Jensen said the licensing process was really no different from other jurisdictions and involved registration, spatial validation, external consultation, approvals and licence issuing.
He highlighted the government wanted to “make this process … more transparent” and would publish an update to its data portal no later than January 1.
The MLSA agency’s head of Inspection and Technical Department, Qupanuk Olsen, spoke about its regulatory environment, tipping an update for the Rules for Fieldwork was in the works.
Ironbark managing director Jonathan C. Downes updated delegates on the company’s flagship Citronen Zinc-Lead Project, which is also prospective for germanium.
Ironbark is at the funding stage for the yet-to-be-built Citronen mine which has an expected 14-year life for a peak annual production rate of about 200,000 tonnes of zinc metal.
Geologist Downes told attendees Citronen was a significant project and the company hoped to generate $600 to $700 million a year at the mine.
Downes said: “We’ve been operating in Greenland for over 10 years now and we’ve taken on a challenging project in the northern part of Greenland, it does happen to be one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc projects though, so the prize is very significant.
“Over $10 billion of metal has been identified.”
He affirmed the company had paid $40 million in cash and shares for the project in 2007, spent about $50 million, had drilled about 65 kilometres of diamond drilling and had consequently made its resource much bigger.
Downes said: “We’ve advanced the project right through the whole process you’ve heard about here and secured a 30-year exploitation licence.
“We’re now at a stage where we’re financing the mine and we’re confident we’re going to be the first large-scale mining operation in Greenland.”
The mine will cost about US$500 million to build the project and employ a few thousand people during construction.
With a population of only 56,171 people last year, the country is likely to see Ironbark become a major employer once the mine is up and running.
Downes acknowledged Greenland was undergoing change as it moved towards independence and Ironbark operated under a “fairly competitive” tax regime.
He said. “We’ve found the government has been extremely supportive towards our work in the project and I can genuinely say the Government of Greenland is keen to support and see large-scale mining operations up and running in Greenland.
“Unlike some of the nations in Africa, I wake up in the morning and I still have title, so that’s a big tip for investors and my experience in dealing with financiers around the world — is there is a lot of confidence and comfort in operating in Greenland.
“As a destination it hasn’t got a long track record of mines and large-scale mining in particular, but I don’t sense any great trepidation.”
Greenland Minerals managing director Dr John Mair then took the University Club stage to speak about his company’s Kvanefjeld project.
He called the Kvanefjeld polymetallic project as one that lent itself to a “simple processing path”.
Kvanefjeld includes rare earths, uranium and zinc.
The project features 1.01 billion tonnes grading 1.1% rare earth oxides (REO) with a substantial uranium resource of 593 million pounds as well as zinc.
He highlighted the project was located near a historic fishing town and had year-round shipping access.
Kvanefjeld’s site location in Greenland
South Perth organisation Tanbreez Mining Greenland A/S’s chief geologist Greg Barnes spoke about the subsidiary’s Kringlerne Rare Earth Elements Project.
Key executive Barnes is the indirect owner Tanbreez’s parent company Rimbal Pty Ltd through its sole owner, the Barnes Family Trust.
Barnes acknowledged private company Tanbreez was able to operate with flexibility as it was unlisted.
He highlighted the company had spent $50 million on exploration to date, knew its system very well and believed it would be simple to mine.
Barnes also flagged the project’s nearby fjord was ice free.
The managing director of Perth-based Greenfields Exploration, Jonathan Bell, spoke about exploration incubator’s projects in east Greenland and the cloud-funded “public private company’s” approach to picking up and improving projects for sell-off.
PwC’s Ove Lykke Hindhede spoke about taxation, royalties and the transfer of licences and cost depreciation schedules after lunch before Jensen took the stage again to clarify a few points on the transfer of licences.
Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Hammeken-Holm then spoke about the country more generally as the afternoon continued with presentations on the mining service industry, factors influencing investment decision-making, Greenland as an investment destination and Greenland’s collaborative approach to mining sector value-creation.
The Government of Greenland will publish the PowerPoint presentations delivered by the Greenland Day Perth speakers at its website govmin.gl in the coming weeks.