Kvanefjeld Rare Earth Project in Greenland is one of the most advanced rare earth projects globally. The permitting process for Kvanefjeld, requires three impact assessments and supporting studies to be prepared and accepted for public consultation. These include the environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA) and maritime safety study – which all undergo a detailed process prior to being accepted for the government to present for formal consultation.
Greenland Minerals Ltd’s Kvanefjeld project is ideally placed to meet growing rare-earth demand and has the potential to become Greenland’s first world-class mining operation. To date, the SIA, maritime and safety study and EIA have been accepted for public consultation.
Greenland’s Environmental Agency for Mineral Resource Activities (EAMRA) advised in late September that the independent scientific reviews of the Kvanefjeld Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and supporting studies concluded and the EIA had been assessed to meet the requirements of the EIA Guidelines for public consultation.
In their assessment, EAMRA stated that they were very satisfied with how the review‐revision process has been conducted with a high degree of mutual flexibility and cooperation. With the EIA technical review‐revision phase concluded, the Company looks forward to updating on the timing of a public consultation phase, and subsequent steps to complete project permitting.
Managing director Dr John Mair said at the time: “The completion of the independent technical EIA reviews and confirmation that the Kvanefjeld EIA meets Greenland Guidelines is a major project milestone.
“The EIA process has been thorough, in‐depth, and comprehensive in order to provide a high degree of stakeholder confidence in the Kvanefjeld Project.”
Test-work delivers increasing recoveries
Locked cycle test-work has been underway at the BTMR laboratories in China though 2020, overseen by rare earth specialists Shenghe Resources Holding Co Ltd. The test-work closely represents the performance of a commercial circuit and builds on extensive single batch flotation and initial locked cycle tests. Results have been validated with check assays undertaken at SGS Laboratories in Perth, Australia, and an independent Chinese assay laboratory. This latest locked cycle test-work completed multiple cycles of tests using the planned commercial circuit and included recycling of process water to determine the impact of residual reagents in solution on flotation performance. 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.
Greenland’s role in supply chains
The Kvanefjeld Project is founded on a unique geological environment in southern Greenland, that contains vast mineral resources enriched in critical rare metals. At a planned processing rate of 3 million tonnes/year, Kvanefjeld will be a globally significant producer of light RE magnet metals neodymium and praseodymium (combined Nd-Pr oxide of 5,690t/a) as well as being a significant producer of the strategically significant heavy REs terbium and dysprosium (44t/a and 270t/a respectively).
Rare earth production costs will be low owing to favourable metallurgy, coupled with additional revenue streams generated through 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 (JORC 2012), however, this represents only 10% of the broader resource. There is clear scope to extend the ore reserves and expand production and extend the project mine life.