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Greenfields Exploration wants to snap up third of Greenland licences

Greenfields Exploration aims to mine a third of Greenland
The company’s exploration camp is hundreds of kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, with the team and equipment mobilized from Iceland by a charter flight and helicopters. (Image courtesy of Greenfields Exploration.)

Greenfields Exploration said on Wednesday it had identified a “shopping list of high-quality acquisitions” in Greenland, which could give it about 28% of all areas under license in the mineral-rich, but under-explored country.

The unlisted company, which ditched plans to list on the ASX in 2018 after forming a joint venture with IGO Ltd. on the Frontier copper-nickel-tungsten project, said it hoped to apply for further copper exploration licenses soon.

Miners have become increasingly interested in Greenland as thawing sea ice opens up shipping routes and exposes mineral riches. The phenomenon, however, has the country’s population divided, with some worried about the loss of traditional lifestyles while others embrace development.

Greenland, an autonomous region under the Kingdom of Denmark, is the world’s largest island. Americans have operated an air base on the northwest coast of the island since 1943.

Greenland makes its own decisions regarding investments in mineral resource activities, including the granting of licenses.

Until recently, the region had only one major mining project, the Kvanefjeld rare earth project launched in 2007. In the past year, however, it has issued more exploration and mining licenses in a bid to diversify its economy.

Open to explorers, not buyers

The US government signed a memorandum of agreement with Greenland on mineral sector governance in 2019 as part of efforts to ensure the supply of critical minerals, particularly rare earths, from outside China.

US President Donald Trump has even expressed interest in buying Greenland, but Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, dismissed the offer while the US Department of State, the US Naval Research Laboratory and the US Geological Survey collected airborne and land-based data along with Greenland’s own authorities last year.

Earlier, Anglo American (LON: AAL) had received five-year exploration and prospecting licenses in West Greenland targeting nickel, copper and platinum group metals.

Bluejay Mining (LON: JAY) (FRA: S5WA) is another company already present in Greenland. The miner is developing its Dundas ilmenite sands project in the country’s north-west, with the financial backing of both Denmark and Greenland.

Ilmenite is considered the most important ore of titanium, used commercially in the production of paint, adhesives and personal care products such as toothpaste.