Greenland, Eclipse Metals signs research MoU to help create economic benefit
Eclipse Metals Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Minerals, Materials and Society Program at the University of Delaware, USA as it looks to ensure regional sustainable development and diversification of the economy around its Ivigtût Project in Southwest Greenland.
The partnership will work collaboratively to research potential avenues for regional economic development of the Ivigtût project areas, which will be supported by funding from the US government’s National Science Foundation.
The aim is to create economic benefit within the local community.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the University of Delaware on research to look at areas for potential economic redevelopment in Greenland,” Eclipse Metals executive chairman Carl 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.”
Larger project redevelopment
The MoU fits into EPM’s larger project to redevelop 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.
The university will be provided with access to EPM’s project data and research. It will also be able to engage with stakeholders to discuss potential commercial development of all resources in the area.
It is hoped the outcome will provide a framework for Social Impact Assessment (SIA), a document that is submitted in stages to the Greenlandic mining authority (MLSA) as part of an application for a mining license.
Several research projects underway
Further to its work with the university, the scoping phase of the social and environmental impact assessments, conducted by Eclipse and Danish consultancy COWI, are now almost finished and will be submitted to the MLSA in the coming weeks.
“This collaboration with the University of Delaware is in addition to collaborative research programs 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,” Popal said.
“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.”
Eclipse is busy at the moment, having recently completed its maiden percussion drilling and trench sampling program at Ivigtût. This includes the Grønnedal carbonatite complex, with laboratory results from this work expected during Q2, Pro Active Investors writes.
Greenland, Amaroq Minerals says Kobberminebugt’s high-grade nature is ‘unsurprising’
Amaroq Minerals Ltd told investors that results from its 2022 Kobberminebugt project exploration programme in Greenland indicate significant copper mineralization to the western end of the emerging mineral belt which the company is exploring.
Providing details of the 2022 programme, Amaroq CEO Eldur Olafsson said: “The company continues to further its strategic metals projects, building upon the mineral potential of South Greenland.
“Kobberminebugt’s high-grade nature is unsurprising given the historic small-scale mining in the area, and our team is now working closely to identify extensions and additional mineralised bodies to build a large exploration target through our future field programme,” he added in a statement.
The Greenland-focused explorer noted that it acquired the licence covering these occurrences in the summer of 2021, following the conclusion of its mineral system modelling of South Greenland.
Exploration conducted across the licence in 2022 consisted of early-stage geological reconnaissance of the metavolcanic/granite contact zones over the historic Josva copper mine and up to 40 kilometres (km) along strike of the Kobberminebugt shear zone. This work included detailed drone surveying of the outcropping mineralisation at Josva at surface and within the historic adit system.
Amaroq said the programme aimed to confirm the presence and style of the mineralisation, assess its potential to host a mineral resource through extensions of the historical mine and in multiple bodies along strike and review the most suitable way to generate targets across this licence block in 2023.
The company said its fieldwork indicated massive copper sulphide bearing (bornite, chalcopyrite, chalcocite) mineralisation hosted in a sheared vein system that parallels the Kobberminebugt shear. These veins are hosted within a roughly 25-metre (m) wide diopside-hornblende skarn exhibiting a strong cleavage and hosting lower-grade copper mineralisation. This zone is in direct contact with hydrothermally altered Ketilidian granites.
Samples of these vein systems returned up to 4.2% copper over 2.5m including 11.6% copper over 50 centimetres (cm). Minor gold and silver grades were also reported, the company said.
2022 exploration highlights:
- Surface and underground surveys completed over the historic Josva copper mine have built an understanding of mineralisation style, extent and controlling geology;
- Copper mineralisation confirmed as skarn related, with potential for significant tonnages at depth or along strike. This opens up the potential for numerous similar bodies across more than 40 km of granite contact zone, which will be further explored during 2023;
- Remaining mineralisation at Josva sampled with channel samples, which recorded up to 4.2% copper over 2.5m including 11.6% copper over 50cm; and
- Mineralisation relates to the same geological events sampled at the company’s Sava project highlighting the significant scale of this emerging copper belt over at least a 120-km strike length.
Amaroq said its geology team is now confident in the skarn origin of the mineralisation at Kobberminebugt which opens up the potential for multiple mineralised skarns along the granite contact zone which extends around 40 km to the northeast and in a further around 35-km contact zone in the north of the licence.
This highlights the copper potential of this area of the South Greenland copper belt, it added. Further, from assessing the attitude of the surface mineralisation at Josva, Amaroq said the geology team believes there is potential that this narrow mineralisation style could open up at depth or along strike, indicating mine scale tonnages.
2023 exploration programme
Amaroq said it intends to follow this exploration with a detailed assessment in 2023 of the skarn geometry and mineralogy, and plans to generate targets at depth at Josva and along strike of the skarn contact zones and Kobberminebugt shear system through commissioning a detailed airborne geophysical programme utilising a similar system to that successfully employed across its other Greenland assets.
Amaroq’s principal business objectives are the identification, acquisition, exploration, and development of gold and strategic metal properties in Greenland. The company’s principal asset is a 100% interest in the Nalunaq Project, an advanced exploration stage property with an exploitation licence including the previously operating Nalunaq gold mine. It has a portfolio of gold and strategic metal assets covering 7,866.85 square kilometres, the largest mineral portfolio in Southern Greenland covering the two known gold belts in the region, Pro Active Investors writes.
Greenland coastline is growing
While many are worried about large swaths of land disappearing under water as global sea levels rise due to melting ice sheets in the Arctic, Greenland finds itself with a different problem: Its coastline is growing. Scientists have observed that when Greenland’s ice melts, it runs down to the ocean, leaving sand and gravel behind that was previously trapped in ice. This sediment builds up along the coastline—effectively expanding the coast—creating new and highly valuable sand deposits. Mining these deposits could be lucrative for Greenland’s economy, but also carries several environmental and economic risks.
Mette Bendixen, assistant professor in McGill’s Department of Geography, co-authored a recent study surveying Greenlanders’ opinions about potential sand mining operations. She found that more than 80 per cent of respondents were in favour of using Greenland’s sand deposits.
The researchers surveyed roughly 1,000 Greenlanders, asking whether they would support a mining operation, what kinds of reviews should be conducted first—scientific, environmental, or economic—and how the project should be overseen. They found that while there was widespread support for sand mining, Greenlanders overwhelmingly prioritized conducting economic and environmental reviews so as to understand how these sectors would be impacted by mining activities. Additionally, when asked whether to involve foreign countries, 75 per cent said that the mining process needed to be kept at the national level. Despite these caveats, 76 per cent of Greenlanders were strongly in favour of exporting their sand deposits.
Over the last several years, Greenland has conducted an economic review of the benefits and drawbacks of mining these sand deposits. Citizens and public officials are concerned about the environmental risks the activity would bring, including the disruption of northern marine ecosystems. But Bendixen found no evidence of large-scale consultation with the people of Greenland.
“No one asked the question—what do the people of Greenland think about this idea?” Bendixen said in an interview with The McGill Tribune.
Sand mining has the potential to be lucrative for Greenland because of the rising global demand for the resource. Sand is used as an ingredient in the construction and manufacturing industries, primarily to produce concrete, glass, and electronic components.
“We use it in basically everything. It is the key ingredient for modern civilization,” Bendixen said.
Mining and exporting these sand deposits could give Greenland a way to boost employment and move towards economic independence. Greenland has a population of roughly 56,000, nearly 88 per cent of which are Greenlandic Inuit. The primary industries are fishing and tourism, and although it is politically independent from Denmark, Greenland still relies heavily on the country’s financial support.
Mining sand in Greenland carries grave environmental risks. Many current sand mining operations cause severe environmental damage, including erosion of coastlines and wild habitats, harm to local fishing populations, and a decrease in plant biodiversity. Bendixen believes this is something Greenland’s government should seriously consider before deciding to mine.
“Extracting something from nature will automatically impact nature, no matter what,” Bendixen said.
Although the amount of sand in Greenland is not enough to overcome the global sand scarcity problem, a carefully overseen mining process does have the potential to fill some of the global demand for sand in a more environmentally conscious manner.
“It could relieve some of the pressure on where it’s currently being extracted in a fashion that’s not sustainable at all,” said Bendixen. In many coastal regions of India and lake regions in China, sand mining encroaches on human settlements and wildlife, making homes and habitats inhospitable.
There’s also the risk that sand mining could negatively impact Greenland’s other economies.
“The fishing industry is the largest industry in Greenland. If you start having these huge barges and ships sailing around in these waters, will that affect the fishery? What about the tourism industry?” Bendixen said.
While these questions and more still need to be answered, Greenland’s sand deposits seem a likely target for new industrial development, McGill Tribune writes.
Canada-based Company to Open Rare Earth Mine in Greenland
A Canada-based company recently announced its plans to develop a rare earth mineral mine in Greenland. Materials from the mine will be sent to Estonia, which has one of only two plants outside China that processes rare earths to a high degree.
Rare earths are a group of minerals used in making electric vehicles, wind turbines, electronics, robots and other machinery. China currently processes about 85 percent of the world’s rare earths. But increased demand is pushing companies to look for other sources.
Neo Performance Materials is based in Toronto, Canada. The rare earth processing company said recently that it plans to develop the Sarfartoq deposit in southwest Greenland. It will then send the materials to its plant in Estonia in Eastern Europe.
Neo aims to have the mine running in two to three years. It will be the company’s first big mining project. Constantine Karayannopoulos, the company’s chief said that by opening the mine, he hopes to protect the company from fast-moving rare earth prices, which have increased in recent years due to supply problems and strong demand.
“We’re at the mercy of the market,” he said. “At the mercy of” is an expression that means you are in a position or situation in which you can be harmed by something you cannot control.
Karayannopoulos called his company’s decision “business, not geopolitics.” But in recent years, rare earths have attracted the attention of officials around the world. The United States, Europe and Japan call their dependence on China’s rare earths a “national security risk” and have tried to find different suppliers.
But such efforts have faced difficulties, as mines in other countries have faced opposition or failed to start after changing prices scared investors away.
Concerns and supply issues
Meanwhile, supplies of rare earths have decreased. And some mines are raising moral and environmental concerns.
When done cheaply, rare earth mining can damage the environment. China, the world’s largest miner, has closed many mines in recent years to reduce environmental damage.
Some of that mining has gone to Myanmar. Myanmar mines are linked to environmental damage, land theft, and financing of militias, including at least one linked to Myanmar’s military government. That information comes from an Associated Press investigation released earlier this month.
The AP traced rare earths from Myanmar to the supply chains of 78 companies, including major car makers and electronics companies.
Karayannopoulos said that in Greenland, the company plans to dig up rock, crush it and do basic processing that does not involve the use of damaging chemicals. The ore will then be shipped to Estonia, where it will be further processed into a form that can be used to make magnets.
Plans for another rare earths mine in Greenland failed after voters put in power a government that blocked development. The area has high amounts of uranium, raising concerns over how radioactive waste would be dealt with.
Karayannopoulos said the area his company plans to develop has much lower levels of uranium, meaning it can be mined under current Greenland and European Union rules. He said EU officials supported the project because it could help Europe become more self-sufficient in rare earths.
Greenland sits between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. A 1.7 million-square-kilometer ice sheet covers 80 percent of the Arctic territory. Greenland’s 56,000 residents are mostly indigenous people, VoA writes.
Eclipse Metals has applied to Greenland’s Mineral Resources Authority
Eclipse Metals has applied to Greenland’s Mineral Resources Authority to proceed with drilling at the Grønnedal-Ika carbonatite rare earth elements (REE) prospect during this year’s field season.
The company has engaged a local contractor to carry out the proposed campaign and executive chairman Carl Popal has visited the site to assess ground conditions and facilitate the planning of access and drill hole locations.
“We took the contractors onsite and discussed the mobilisation of appropriate equipment, with the team potentially able to mobilise in July,” he said.
“We were able to locate several historic drill collars which will assist in planning the program.”
Ivittuut mining licence
Mr Popal also met with Greenland’s Environmental Agency for Mineral Resource Activities to discuss the requirements for a mining licence application for the Ivittuut historic cryolite mine.
Eclipse is actively exploring Ivittuut and Grønnedal-Ika for lithium, base and precious metals and industrial minerals.
The meetings will help it work more closely with government departments to move forward at Ivittuut, where pit dewatering remains a significant licencing issue.
Mr Popal said the company would provide the government with information for its planned dewatering procedures.
“The meeting regarding environmental requirements related to the mining licence and drainage of the pit in the licence area was productive [and] we are encouraged to work with environmental officers to develop the requirements to empty the pit,” Mr Popal said.
“We plan to engage a specialist to assist with addressing these requirements to ensure dewatering is in line with best practice.”
Eclipse has also entered into talks with the municipality of Sermersooq to establish ways in which it can assist the restoration of the local Ivittuut mine museum.
Last month, Eclipse revealed that 3D modelling of airborne magnetic data over Grønnedal-Ika had identified several high amplitude and vertically-extensive magnetic bodies indicative of REE mineralisation.
They are believed to be spatially coincident with a cluster of electromagnetic bedrock conductors identified by a previous explorer.
Eclipse said the bodies suggest the potential for a larger extent of magnetite-bearing carbonatite and carbonatite breccia in the subsurface than indicated by earlier mapping, Small Caps writes.
Greenland Minerals is beginning arbitration proceedings against the governments of Greenland and Denmark
Greenland Minerals is beginning arbitration proceedings against the governments of Greenland and Denmark over its stalled Kvanefjeld rare earth-uranium project, Kallanish reports.
Arbitration has been officially requested by subsidiary Greenland Minerals A/S, after discussions with the Greenland government failed to provide a remedy, the Australia-based company says. Last month, the government rejected the company’s exploitation license. The company is seeking a hearing before three arbitrators in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“We tried to find a constructive solution through dialogue with the government of Greenland but they made it clear that they would not move from their position that Act No. 20 applies to us and our exploitation license will not be granted,” says managing director Daniel Mamadou.
The company took the step in order to protect its investment in the project and to obtain the exploitation license that is needed to proceed. The company was earlier issued an exploration license and that should entitle it to an exploitation license, the company says. It is maintaining its application for an exploitation license and is seeking an independent legal opinion as to whether the 2021 uranium mining ban applies to its project.
If the law does apply to the project, the company will seek compensation for expropriation from the Greenland government, the company says. It says it has invested AUD 130 million ($97.14m) in the project in 10 years.
The government of Greenland has banned the mining of uranium which it defines as uranium content of 100 parts per million or greater in the total resource. That rule went into effect 2 December, 2021.
The Kvanefjeld project in southwest Greenland features ore reserve that contain 108m tonnes of 1.43% rare earth oxide, 0.26% zinc and 0.036% uranium oxide. The uranium oxide content is 266 ppm and would produce about 5% of project revenues, Kallanish reports.
Greenland Strips Chinese Mining Firm of License for Iron Ore Deposit
The license was withdrawn because of inactivity at the site and a failure to make the agreed guarantee payments, the government said.
According to Reuters, Greenland has stripped a Chinese mining company of its license to an iron ore deposit near the capital Nuuk. General Nice, a Chinese coal and iron ore importer, took control of the Isua mine project in 2015, replacing previous owner London Mining, which went bankrupt. It was the first Chinese firm to have the right to exploit minerals in Greenland.
The license was withdrawn because of inactivity at the site, the government said in a statement. The license be offered to new interested companies once it has formally been handed back. The company also failed to make the agreed guarantee payments, the statement said.
The government requested that all geological data is returned, remaining payments of 1.5 million Danish crowns are deposited, and the mining area is cleaned up. London Mining, which obtained the exploitation license in 2013, had initially planned to hire some 2,000 Chinese workers to construct the project and aimed to supply China with around 15 million metric tonnes of iron ore a year. However, it failed to secure sufficient financing.
Greenland’s government has said it supports environmentally responsible mining. This year it banned uranium mining, effectively halting development of the Kuannersuit mine, one of the world’s biggest rare earth deposits, which is partly-owned by a Chinese company.
General Nice also attempted in 2016 to buy an abandoned naval station in Greenland from Denmark, but Copenhagen vetoed the offer because of security concerns, sources told Reuters at the time. In 2018, Greenland rejected an offer from a Chinese state bank and a state-owned construction company to finance and build two airports in Greenland.
Mining of deposits with a uranium concentration over 100 parts per million (ppm) is illegal
Mining at Greenland Minerals’ Kuannersuit has been halted by Greenland legislation banning the mining of uranium, Reuters reported.
Kuannersuit is also known as Kvanefjeld.
Australian-based Greenland Minerals had been developing the rare earths mine, located near the town of Narsaq. The mine also contains radioactive uranium.
According to the new law, mining of deposits with a uranium concentration over 100 parts per million (ppm) is illegal.
Greenland Minerals had not yet received final approval of the mine.
The Kvanefjeld project holds over a billion tonnes of mineral resources, with 11.1 million tonnes of rare earth oxide, and 593 million pounds of U3O8.
Greenland Minerals had been finalising its Environmental Impact Assessment for the mine.
Rare earths expected to be produced at the mine include praseodymium, neodymium, terbium, and dysprosium.
Greenland’s new governing party Inuit Ataqatigiit, elected in April, focused their campaign on developing Kvanefjeld.
Greenland has stripped a Chinese mining company of its licence to an iron ore deposit
Greenland said on Monday it has stripped a Chinese mining company of its licence to an iron ore deposit near the capital Nuuk, dealing a blow to attempts by Chinese companies to gain a foothold on the resource-rich Arctic island.
General Nice, a Chinese coal and iron ore importer, took control of the Isua mine project in 2015, replacing previous owner London Mining, which went bankrupt.
It was the first Chinese firm to have the right to exploit minerals in Greenland, which has attracted international interest as climate change has opened up waterways and access to the vast Arctic island’s mineral resources.
The licence was withdrawn because of inactivity at the site, the government said in a statement, adding it will be offered to new interested companies once it has formally been handed back.
The company also failed to make the agreed guarantee payments, it said.
“We cannot accept that a licence-holder repeatedly fails to meet agreed deadlines,” Greenland’s Resources Minister Naaja Nathanielsen said.
The government requested that all geological data is returned, remaining payments of 1.5 million Danish crowns are deposited, and the mining area is cleaned up.
London Mining, which obtained the exploitation licence in 2013, had initially planned to hire some 2,000 Chinese workers to construct the project and aimed to supply China with around 15 million metric tonnes of iron ore a year.
However, it failed to secure sufficient financing.
Greenland’s government, elected in April, has said it supports environmentally responsible mining.
This year it banned uranium mining, effectively halting development of the Kuannersuit mine, one of the world’s biggest rare earth deposits, which is partly-owned by a Chinese company.
General Nice also attempted in 2016 to buy an abandoned naval station in Greenland from Denmark, but Copenhagen vetoed the offer because of security concerns, sources told Reuters at the time.
General Nice could not be reached for comment.
In 2018, Greenland rejected an offer from a Chinese state bank and a state-owned construction company to finance and build two airports in Greenland.
Greenland’s parliament is expected to pass a bill reinstating a ban on uranium mining
Within weeks, Greenland’s parliament, the Inatsisartut, is expected to pass a bill reinstating a ban on uranium mining that was lifted in 2013 following pressure from mining companies.
“The Greenlandic minister with responsibility for minerals has publicly stated that a ban on uranium mining will put an end to all future uranium mining, full stop,” Mariane Paviasen, a Greenland MP and leading activist in the anti-uranium mining movement, Urani? Naamik (Uranium? No), told Green Left.
Paviasen was elected to the Inatsisartut in a snap election in April, as a candidate of the Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community for the People) party (IA). IA explicitly campaigned on a platform opposing a giant open-cut mine proposed for Kvanefjeld (Kuannersuit in Greenlandic) by controversial Australian company Greenland Minerals Ltd (GML).
According to Danish environmentalists, GML was instrumental in overturning Greenland’s uranium mining ban. It promoted the uranium mine as one of the biggest in the world, back in 2007, but now promotes Kvanefjeld as a Rare Earths mine, which will produce uranium as a by-product. It plans to dump uranium-rich mine waste in Lake Taseq, above the small township of Narsaq, where Paviasen lives.
According to NOAH (Danish Friends of the Earth) campaigner Niels Henrik Hooge, this has been GML´s strategy for almost a decade and that of Greenland´s former government.
“It has no credibility with the public, considering that the recent general elections more or less were a referendum on Kvanefjeld and perceived as a ‘uranium election’,” Hooge told GL.
The uranium deposit in Kvanefjeld is considered by GML to be the second largest in the world, surpassed only by Australia’s Olympic Dam uranium mine. While uranium prices have fallen dramatically since the Fukushima reactor disaster, moves to push nuclear energy as a “solution” to global warming may be already pushing the price up.
Furthermore, if GML imagines that presenting its Rare Earths mining project somehow makes it more “green”, this is false. According to GML’s own estimates, the mine would raise Greenland’s carbon dioxide emissions by 45%.
NOAH and Renewable Energy, another Danish NGO, list many serious environmental costs if the Kvanefjeld mine is allowed to proceed. There are huge risks from air pollution during open-cut mining, and even greater risks associated with dumping radioactive waste in Lake Taseq.
In addition to uranium, the radioactive waste would include thorium. Thorium tailings are 3‒10 times more radiaoctive than uranium, the two NGOs pointed out in their September 12 submission, responding to the mine’s latest Environmental Impact Statement.
The tailings will cause health problems, even if the built-in dams behave as planned. The risk increases over time, primarily after the mine has been shut down and when monitoring and maintenance have been completed.
In addition to the planned discharges, there will be unintentional spills via leaks and accidents. In the long run, large areas around the mine will be contaminated with radioactive elements and non-radioactive substances, many of which are highly toxic.
“The people living in the polluted areas will be permanently exposed to radioactive and other toxic substances via drinking water, food and air. Seafood is also becoming polluted due to the massive discharges of waste, including wastewater, along the coast. Bioaccumulation of radionuclides and non-radioactive chemicals can become a serious problem.
“All this means that uranium mining in Kuannersuit in addition to significant chemical pollution will leave millions of tons of tailings containing some of the most toxic known radioactive substances, such as radium, thorium, radon and polonium, and this waste remains radioactive at a dangerous level for hundreds of thousands of years.
“In addition, the Arctic environment is particularly vulnerable to pollution because it is rebuilding very slowly, and the long-term consequences of uranium mining could be extensive radioactive pollution, which, due to the health hazard, may make it necessary to ban agriculture, fishing, trapping and livestock farming.”
GML argued vigorously for the uranium mine in the lead up to the April elections. The company ran daily advertisements claiming that the mine would generate US$245 million in taxes and royalties for the country’s economy each year and create 330 local jobs.
After the election, GML chairperson Anthony Ho suggested to shareholders at the company’s May 26 Annual General Meeting in Perth that the company would be able to weaken the opposition to the Kvanefjeld mine among the new generation of MPs who were elected:
“Now that they are in power they now have to deal with governing a country rather than rah, rah, rah campaigning — ‘Vote for me, I’m going to make you all millionaires and you’re all going to have beautiful sunshine and fresh air’,” Ho said, according to a transcript published by environmental NGOs.
Ho said GML could “help them to evolve their policies”.
“How are we going to assist them to achieve their aspirations of no uranium mining in Greenland without damaging [our] shareholders’ interests and shareholders’ value in the company and our project?”
The answer, Ho suggested, was to treat the Kvanefjeld mine as an exception, even if the uranium ban passed.
“If you look at the situation in Australia, when Bob Hawke was elected Prime Minister, he said no uranium mining. But then the mines department said to him, ‘You can’t stop Jabiluka because it is already going on’. So ‘alright’, he said, ‘Yep, no uranium mining from now on, and Jabiluka can carry on’. So there’s a lot of things that you need to work with government and help them achieve their goals and what they say during the election, without damaging the country or damaging the shareholders interests.”
GML managing director John Mair noted cockily at the AGM that, as the new IA-led government was a coalition, things could “change in a heartbeat”. He also joked about how many Greenlanders welcome global warming and that if the country did not warm enough, then “when the mine does get going and they’re earning good wages, they can pop down to Spain and get thawed out and come back for another fortnight.”
GML shareholders laughed at this.
The political aggressiveness of GML may have something to do with its roots.
Sydney- based independent journalist, author and filmmaker Antony Loewenstein has been following this case since 2014. At the time, he wrote an article for the Guardian outlining the political record of GML, then called Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd (GMEL), and its alleged control by a mysterious businessman, Mihran Shemesian, also known as “Mick Many Names”.
“In 2009, Fairfax media claimed that Shemesian controlled more than 20% of GMEL stock. Range Resources, another company tied to Shemesian, had earlier been accused of paying the disputed government of the Puntland State of Somalia, linked to Somali rebels, more than US$6m (A$9.3m) for resource rights to the region,” Loewenstein wrote.
When Loewenstein asked Mair about Shemesian, he was told he isn’t “registered as a shareholder”. However, Mair would not guarantee that Shemesian has no involvement with GMEL.
“Years ago I found troubling transparency questions around the Australian firm GMEL [now GML] and it should be treated with caution,” Loewenstein told GL.
“This issue has received barely any coverage in Australia and it begs the question; what’s a relatively unknown Western Australian company trying to do in Greenland and what are its real motives? Uranium mining in pristine territory should be rejected outright.”
GML should stop pushing a mining project that clearly doesn’t have a social license to operate, he added.
Dr Lian Sinclair, who observed GML’s last AGM on behalf of mining monitoring group, the Minerals Policy Institute, told GL: “GML refused to rule out litigation over any potential ban on uranium and said they are committed to ‘quiet-diplomacy’. It is most concerning … that an Australian company would potentially engage in litigation or back-room deals away from public scrutiny to overturn the democratic mandate of a small country.”
GML may have seriously politically over-reached this time.
Greg Barnes, a Perth-based geologist who owns another mining company operating near Kvanesfjeld — and who supposedly inspired former United States president Donald Trump’s announcement two year ago that he might “buy Greenland” — interrupted Mair at GML’s AGM:
“Mate, you stink in Greenland. Your advertising campaign in the election probably did more to get IA elected than anybody else.”
He added that the company’s political intervention had “killed the project”.
It seems that Barnes could be right.
Paviasen, who chairs the Inatsisartut’s Committee for Trade, Commerce, Mineral and Oil Resources, was adamant that the IA-led government and the Greenland parliament would hold firm on the uranium mining ban and on the Kvanefjeld mine.
“There will be no exceptions made,” she told GL.
“Currently GML holds an exploration license, but a ban will make it impossible to obtain an exploitation license containing uranium mining, unless the resource is below the threshold of 100 parts per million, which is unlikely.
“Also, keep in mind that GML already has a special term in their exploration license stating that the Greenlandic government can reject an application for uranium mining due to political reasons. This has been in effect since 2011 and stayed on through several coalition governments of different politics.”