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Greenland’s recipe for saving Planet Earth By Reuters


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© Reuters. Anders Norby-Lie, a geologist with Greenland Anorthosite Mining, inspects drilling cores from an exploratory site for an anorthosite deposits close to Qeqertarsuatsiaat fjord in Greenland on September 11, 2021. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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Jacob Gronholt Pedersen

QEQERTARSUATSIAAT FJORD in Greenland (Reuters). A mining firm is betting that a similar rock to one brought back by the Apollo missions from the Moon can solve some planet Earth’s climate problems.

    “This rock was created in the early days in the formation of our planet,” says geologist Anders Norby-Lie, who began exploring anorthosite at the remote mountain landscape in Greenland nine years ago.

Recent developments have attracted more investors and mining companies to purchase it to use it for a source of sustainable aluminium, as well as as as a raw material to make fibreglass.

Greenland’s government was elected by April and has put it in the center of efforts to make Greenland more environmentally-friendly. Even NASA, the United States space agency has noticed.

    The mineral-rich island has become a hot prospect for miners seeking anything from and titanium to platinum and rare earth minerals, which are needed for electric vehicle motors.

It could be an obvious solution to Greenland’s problems of how to grow its economy and achieve its long-term goal to become independent from Denmark. However, the Greenland government campaigned for an environmental platform. The government must honour this.

In an interview with Reuters, Greenland’s Mineral Resources Minister Naaja Nathanielsen said that not all money is worthwhile. “We are more green and have been able to quickly make decisions.”

    Already the government has banned future oil and gas https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/greenland-puts-an-end-unsuccessful-oil-adventure-2021-07-16 exploration and wants to reinstate a ban on uranium mining.

That would halt development of one of the world’s biggest rare earth deposits https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/greenland-prepares-legislation-halt-large-rare-earth-mine-2021-09-17, named Kuannersuit in Greenlandic and Kvanefjeld in Danish because the deposit also contains uranium.

Kuannersuit, whose operator was in the final stages of securing a permit to mine, was a flashpoint issue in April’s election https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/mining-magnets-arctic-island-finds-green-power-can-be-curse-2021-03-02 because locals fear the uranium it contains could harm the country’s fragile environment.

John Mair (CEO, Greenland Minerals) stated that uranium has become a political topic.

According to the government, royalties from the mine would be approximately 1.5 billion Danish crowns (233 million dollars) annually.

However, the revenue generated by two small mining operations in the country is very negligible. Nathanielsen claims that the budget does not include any mining revenue.

THE DANISH MONEY TRAP

Some people don’t see the point of mineral exploration until Greenland is independent.

The Danish colony from 1952 to 1953. A semi-autonomous territory within the Kingdom, Denmark, has the power to declare independence by a simple vote. However, it seems unlikely that this will happen.

Greenland has asked for work to create a constitution that will be independent Greenland.

Greenland’s 57,000 residents rely on Denmark for grants and fishing.

These grants would decrease in proportion to the future earnings of mining. Some argue that minerals should not be extracted now.

    “Under the current agreement, large-scale mineral extraction makes no sense,” Pele Broberg, minister for business and trade, told Reuters. “Why should that be done while we’re under the control of another country?”

    Others are concerned the government is deterring investment in large-scale mining of more conventional minerals, which they say is the way to diversify the economy and make it capable of standing alone.

    Jess Berthelsen, head of Greenland’s labour union SIK, had hoped the planned mine at Kuannersuit and other large-scale projects would create jobs and said the Danish grants held Greenland back.

    “Sometimes I wish Denmark would stop sending money, because then people in this country would start waking up. “It’s making us sleepy,” he stated.

Lobbyists for businesses worry that the government will reintroduce a ban on uranium – eight years after it was lifted.

Christian Keldsen from Greenland Business Association said that while companies may be used to the pressure of authorities, they do not like this level of instability.

LOCAL SUPPORT

The pursuit of income is supported by those who are closest to the mineral that has been identified in government-approved sustainable mining plans.

We have to look for other income streams. Johannes Hansen is a Qeqertarsuatsiaat resident and a fireman and carpenter. It takes approximately 50 minutes to get from this town, which is home to around 160 residents, to the proposed anorthosite mining site.

Greenland Anorthosite Mining plans to deliver 120 tonnes crushed anorthosite in a shipment to prospective customers in the fibreglass sector. The mine is being developed by Greenland Anorthosite Mining.

Company hopes to get an exploration permit for the area by 2022.

It is intended that anorthosite be used in place of bauxite for the production aluminium. Anorthosite, which is one of the most important minerals to reduce emissions due to its ability to lighten vehicles and be fully recyclable, is the bigger goal.

Greenland Anorthosite Mining claims that aluminium is more possible than when the primary source, bauxite, is used. It also produces less waste as compared to existing processes.

The European Union’s ambitions to diversify its mineral resources also makes Anorthosite a good choice. While it is also found in Canada and Greenland as well, bauxite can be found concentrated in an area around the Equator.

Asuncion Aranda is the head of an EU-funded research program into anorthosite. He said that the technology was proven to be effective, but more research is necessary to reduce costs and minimize the impact on the environment.

She said that she didn’t yet know if her process would be as competitive with established methods of production.

“If everything goes as planned and the industry in aluminium is strong, then the first commercial production could be possible in 8-10 years.”

UNEARTHLY AMBITIONS

The EU is primarily concerned with earthly uses, curbing greenhouse gases and limiting emissions. NASA has ambitious plans to create new habitats for human activities.

The company has used anorthosite crushed powder from a small Greenland mine, owned by Hudson Resources in Canada (NYSE:) Resources) to evaluate equipment for a possible space race. This would have involved mining the moon or even establishing towns there.

John Gruener from NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, said that while the Greenland deposits are not identical to the moon but they are pretty close.

He said, “If we are going to survive off the land on the south pole, which everyone is interested in right now, then we must learn how to deal avec anorthosite. The dominant rock there.” It’s great to have another source of greenland anorthosite.

The climate campaigners don’t believe so.

Greenpeace has fought against deep sea mineral extract, claiming it could disturb ecosystems that we don’t even know about. It also supports similar arguments for mining in space.

“We must be looking for sustainable solutions rather than new frontiers. We don’t really know much about these environment,” says Kevin Brigden, Senior Scientist at Greenpeace Research Laboratory.

Greenland’s resource ministry responded to questions about concerns by sending an email. It stated that they did not anticipate minerals taken from Greenland being used exclusively for green technology.

The statement said, “But we actively work to optimize the green profile und utilise our resources for the good cause.”

($1 = 6.4332 Danish crowns)



Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.