Eclipse Metals is making significant progress on its critical minerals work in Greenland.
As it works to uncover and develop the critical mineral potential of its multi-commodity exploration project in southwestern Greenland, Eclipse Metals is taking steps to broaden its network in Europe.
Eclipse’s Greenland project, MEL2007-45, hosts the historic Ivigtût mine, which produced more than 3.8 million tonnes of cryolite over a 120-year history, as well as the Grønnedal carbonatite complex, which has multi-faceted commercial potential for rare earth elements (REE) and high-purity quartz (HPQ), lithium, siderite, and several base metals.
With increasing European recognition of the need for locally and responsibly sourced raw materials – and critical minerals in particular – Eclipse, an Australian publicly-listed company (ASX: EPM), wants to show the potential its Greenland project holds.
European Raw Minerals Alliance
Eclipse recently joined the European Raw Minerals Alliance (ERMA) partner network, which will allow Eclipse to participate in ERMA’s development strategy for critical minerals and metals. The ERMA aims to improve the EU’s resilience to access critical raw materials.
The Ivigtût mine in Greenland has long been a strategic asset as the world’s only source of mined cryolite – a flux used in aluminium refining. During the Second World War, US forces occupied the site to secure their own supply of this mineral that was crucial to the production of military aircraft. Eclipse Metals believes it could become a new source of critical minerals including rare earth elements (REE) at a time when Western governments are looking to develop critical mineral projects in friendly nations.
Eclipse Executive Chairman Carl Popal said: “We consider our Ivigtût project in Greenland to be a strategic asset as it aligns with ERMA’s objectives to diversify critical raw material supply chains. Our Greenland project hosts a range of these including rare earth elements, base metals, and industrial materials such as high purity quartz and, therefore, offers an important development opportunity.
“The increasing demand in Europe for sustainable supply of rare earth bearing minerals and critical raw materials provides the company with an excellent opportunity to engage with European stakeholders as we work towards unlocking the untapped potential that this historic mining project still holds together with the Grønnedal carbonatite, nepheline Syenite REE complex which we are currently exploring and developing. “Being part of the ERMA network will be beneficial throughout all stages of exploration and mining in the area.”
Establishing a sustainable raw materials supply
In addition to investing in infrastructure and capacity building within the EU, the EMRA supports activities aimed at securing a sustainable supply of raw and advanced materials for the EU’s industrial ecosystems that support the transition to a green and digital economy. It has provided support to other mining projects in Greenland including support in securing financial and developmental support for other Greenland-based exploration and mining companies.
Major mining companies including Rio Tinto, Anglo American, and Lynas Corporation are also part of ERMA’s partner network, along with many exploration and development companies.
Eclipse joining the ERMA coincided with the announcement of the EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act, which aims to scale up the EU manufacture of key carbon neutral or ‘net-zero’ technologies to ensure secure, sustainable, and competitive supply chains for clean energy in view of reaching the EU’s climate and energy ambitions.
The company is securing partnerships
It was also the latest step for Eclipse as it strengthens its engagement with European stakeholders. In addition, it recently commenced trading on the Frankfurt and Tradegate exchanges in Germany, and it has also engaged a European-based investor relations and corporate advisor to help it build awareness of the company and its projects in the region.
“Eclipse Metals has attracted considerable interest from investors outside Australia, and in particular Scandinavian regions where there is an awareness of the company’s projects,” Popal said.
“Greenland hosts a quarter of the world’s rare earth minerals in a favourable mining jurisdiction, and we expect increased interest from European investors, stakeholders and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as our project development work continues.”
Meanwhile, Eclipse’s research and exploration in Greenland continues. It recently announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Minerals, Materials and Society Program at the University of Delaware, US, to work collaboratively in efforts to research potential avenues for regional sustainable development and diversification of the economy in the proximity of Eclipse’s Ivigtût Project.
The university is focused on regional economic development of the Ivigtût project areas, and has received funding from the US Government’s National Science Foundation. This research is part of a larger project on redevelopment of legacy energy and mineral sites in the Arctic for a just and sustainable transition that recognises greater access to the region due to changing climate.
Eclipse will provide the university with access to project data and research and will engage with stakeholders for the purposes of potential commercial development of all resources in the area. Eclipse expects that the research being conducted by the university will assist in providing a framework for, and will potentially contribute to, Eclipse’s Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for the project. The SIA is a document which must be submitted in stages to the Greenlandic mining authority (MLSA) as part of an application for a mining license.
Eclipse has completed the first phase of environmental and social impact assessments for Ivigtût, with assistance from Danish consultancy COWI, and submitted these reports to Greenland’s Mineral Licence and Safety Authority (MLSA). Completion of both assessments are integral to applying to the MLSA for a Mining Licence.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the University of Delaware on research to look at areas for potential economic redevelopment in Greenland,” Popal said.
“Our Ivigtût project, which has a historic mining life extending over 120 years, is a prime example of an opportunity for redevelopment and we hope this research will provide an insight into how we can do this to the benefit of Greenland and the local communities as well as Eclipse and our shareholders.
“This collaboration with the University of Delaware is in addition to collaborative research programmes that are already underway with the University of St Andrews, UK, and the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo, Norway, which is focused on rare earth elements and green technology metals. There is plenty of scope for development in Greenland and we are encouraged to see this renewed attention in the Arctic region as we look towards expanding its potential for strategic mineral and economic development.”
Progress at Ivigtût and Grønnedal
At Ivigtût, Eclipse completed its maiden percussion drilling and trench sampling programme at Ivigtût and the Grønnedal carbonatite complex late last year, with laboratory results from this work expected during Q2 CY2023.
XRF analysis of composite samples recorded in Greenland before shipment to the laboratory returned encouraging values for praseodymium (Pr) and neodymium (Nd) ratios, and results indicated that the Grønnedal carbonatite complex could be significant on a global basis with respect to its Pr and Nd content. Pr and Nd are used for high-performance magnets, which means they are heavily used in the automotive and renewable energy sectors and are expected to be in high demand for years to come.
Eclipse is the first company to re-engage in development of the Ivigtût mine, which was first explored in 1865. Cryolite produced there powered the aluminium industry at the time. Now with a new focus on its multi-commodity potential, and in conjunction with the Grønnedal carbonatite complex, the company hopes to bring new life to the historic mining area.
Ivigtût benefits from a strategic location close to necessary infrastructure. The site can be serviced through a power station and fuel supplies with local road infrastructure to support mineral exploration activities.
Eclipse aims to understand and harness the unique geology of the area and rejuvenate the historical mine site; targeting the project’s polymetallic and REE mineralisation to supply industrial and critical minerals to global markets.