Australia’s Greenland Minerals (ASX: GGG) said on Tuesday it will not attend public meetings in the Danish territory this month to hear community feedback on its Kvanefjeld rare earths project, citing safety concerns.
The miner participated in community consultations in February but would not be take part in those scheduled for August, as government departments supportive of the project will also be absent. This, added to threats against some of Greenland Minerals’ officials, would be “significantly prejudicial to the company,” it said.
Greenland Minerals obtained last year preliminary approval to develop Kvanefjeld, one of the world’s largest and most advanced rare earth projects.
The company is now undergoing a public engagement process scheduled to run until mid-September. After that, the mining minister and the national assembly will make a final decision on the project.
The Perth-based company added that it was neither formally invited nor had an obligation to attend the upcoming meetings, which were scheduled primarily for politicians from the new government to discuss the project with communities.
It also said it continues to respond to questions raised by the community and will address its concerns in a white paper to be released following a broader consultation period.
Greenland’s mining minister Najaa Nathanielsen called the company’s concerns unwarranted.
“I fully understand that Greenland Minerals is concerned about the safety of its participants,” Nathanielsen said in a statement, “[but] I expect the meetings to take place in a calm and constructive manner, allowing all views and questions to be aired. This is the very purpose of the consultation meetings,” she said.
The uranium and rare earths-rich Arctic island has gained notoriety over the past two years following former US President Donald Trump’s offer to buy it. The move sought to partly help address Chinese dominance of the rare earths market, as the nation accounts for almost 80% of the global mined supply of the elements used in everything from hi-tech electronics to military equipment.
Greenland’s new coalition government, which consists of the Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) and Naleraq parties, has publicly stated its intention to block Kvanefjeld’s development, due to the presence of uranium as a by-product.
Seeking to appease concerns, the company has repeatedly stated that uranium is of no great importance to its project, though previously it had said that revenues generated by the uranium and other by-products of the operation would help offset rare earth production costs.
Kvanefjeld is forecast to be a globally significant producer of all commercially important rare earth elements including neodymium, praseodymium, terbium and dysprosium, over an initial 37-year mine life.