Greenland Minerals Ltd’s (ASX:GGG) (OTCMKTS:GDLNF) (FRA:G7P) Kvanefjeld Rare Earth Project in Greenland has hit a major milestone with the sign-off of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and will now move into the statutory public consultation phase.
All components of a mining licence application have been completed with the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Maritime Safety study, having previously been accepted.
The company looks forward to updating on the timing of the public consultation phase and subsequent steps to complete project permitting.
It noted that the major progress in permitting had come at an important time with the outlook for rare earth demand continuing to strengthen.
Greenland Minerals’ managing director Dr John Mair told Proactive: “The acceptance of the EIA, marks a pivotal point for us and will enable the company to develop a clear development timeline which will facilitate commercial engagement.
“There should be strong sector tailwinds with the EV and renewable thematic set to push rare earth demand significantly.”
Next steps to mining licence
Greenlandic and Danish versions of the EIA report - required for the EIA acceptance to be formalised - are on schedule to be completed this month.
The translated reports will undergo a check for language quality by Greenland’s Environmental Agency for Mineral Resources Activities for the EIA report and the Ministry of Mineral Resources for the SIA report - a process that is estimated to take around one week.
A statutory public consultation phase will then be scheduled for a minimum of eight weeks.
Questions that arise during the public consultation phase are addressed in the form of a white paper.
The publication of the white paper concludes the criteria for an exploitation (mining) licence.
This white paper is expected to be completed within an eight-week period following the public consultation.
Advanced flotation test-work
Test-work results confirm the outstanding performance of the optimised flotation circuit, with the ability to concentrate the rare earths into a much smaller mass than that of the original ore, allowing for a small refinery circuit for hydrometallurgical treatment.
Rare earth recoveries in mineral concentrate increased to 85% from 80% and light rare earth oxide recovery was 87% and heavy rare earth oxide recovery was 68%,
The unique rare earth minerals can be effectively processed in a single-stage atmospheric acid leach circuit in which all impurities can be managed, allowing for the production and export of a clean intermediate rare earth product.
Further enhancements in fluoride removal are expected with ongoing process development, which mitigates environmental impacts and benefits environmental management.
European engagement ramps up
In the September quarter, the company presented to a number of European organisations on the Kvanefjeld project.
Europe is set to be an important growing demand centre for rare earths and there is an increasing level of interest and awareness in the security of supply.
In September, the European Raw Materials Alliance (ERMA) was launched by the European Commission, in recognition of the critical importance of raw materials to the EU’s security, sustainability and industrial leadership.
If Europe is to deliver a Green Deal, a digital transition and remain a leader in future technologies, it faces a significant increase in demand for critical raw materials.
Extremely robust demand
The longer-term picture for rare earths remains extremely robust.
ADAMAS Intelligence is forecasting that global annual demand for magnet rare earth oxides will increase by 150% through to 2030 and current global production needs to double to meet this demand.
Together with increasing production costs in China, considerable upward pressure on prices is expected over time.
This outlook creates an optimal development window for the Kvanefjeld project, given its advanced status, favourable production profile across all key magnet RE’s, and competitive cost structure.
Globally significant producer
At a planned processing rate of 3 million tonnes per year, Kvanefjeld will be a globally significant producer of light rare earth magnet metals neodymium and praseodymium, as well as a significant producer of the strategic heavy REEs terbium and dysprosium.
Rare earth production costs will be low due to favourable metallurgy, and additional revenue streams from the by-production of uranium, zinc and fluorspar (metspar).
Kvanefjeld has an initial mine life of 37 years, based on a 108 million tonne ore reserve, which represents only 10% of the broader resource base.
There is clear scope to expand production and extend the project mine life.