Positioning Greenland to be a major international rare earth (RE) supplier for over a decade, Australia-based Greenland Minerals (ASX:GGG) aims to develop materials for an energy efficient future. Its primary focus is the development of its 100%-owned Kvanefjeld RE Project (Project) in south west Greenland, which is deemed to be large-scale, low-cost, long term supplier of efficient RE elements including dysprosium, neodymium, terbium, praseodymium.
The Company has been advancing the developments at the Project, which is believed to be the start point of major new RE supply. Even as the effect of the COVID 19 crisis turn out to be far-reaching, GGG has been thriving to ensure advancement in key areas of focus.
Welcoming the Company update and bright outlook with optimism, GGG soared by 12.86% on 24 March 2020 and quoted $0.079 on the ASX. It has delivered 40% return in the past one-year.
Let’s deep dive-
Completion of Additional EIA Related Studies
GGG’s primary focus for early 2020 has been to conclude additional EIA associated studies. Through Q419, the Company was engaged with Greenland’s Environmental Agency for Mineral Resource Activities (EAMRA), their advisors and independent consultants (who conducted several additional studies).
The studies have been finally concluded, and they identified no new environmental issues. Moreover, they support results that remain consistent with prior work.
To know about the EIA progresses, PLEASE READ- Greenland Minerals Advancing Well at the Emerging World-Class Kvanefjeld RE Project
The Government of Greenland (GoG) has been instrumental in proceeding the EIA towards the final stage. Minister of Finance and Mineral Resources, Vittus Qujaukitsoq recently acknowledged the Project’s potential and quoted-
GGG has been adhering to the three main impact assessments (EIA, SIA & Maritime Safety Study) along with supporting studies to be prepared and accepted for public consultation as per Greenland norms. Post detailed review process, the SIA and Maritime Safety Study have been accepted for public consultation.
The EIA will be ready for public consultation once the ‘Type 1’ issues shortlisted by the EAMRA are resolved, after meetings were held to determine what additional work should be done to address them.
Let’s understand how-
GGG’s EIA “Type 1” Issues – Additional Studies
Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB), an independent specialist consultancy, addressed the method of tailings closure based on current technology. EAMRA had requested that a dry closure method be developed to the same level of detail to compare it to the wet closure method-
- KCB developed a detailed dry closure design considering best available technology to the same standard as the wet design, and conducted a trade-off study.
- The trade-off study concluded that the wet closure design has a lower environmental impact.
- EAMRA believes that a final decision on closure will be postponed in the operational phase, at which point any new technologies/ considerations can be effectively applied (given the long-projected life of the Project).
Seismic Analysis & Modelling, Radiation Impact Assessments
It is common practice for EIAs to assess the effects of a catastrophic tailings dam failure irrespective of site-specific likelihood and failure mode. Therefore, KCB performed a two-part analysis to determine the stability of the tailings dam walls-
- Through the latest information from GEUS, the first part of the assessment determined the maximum number and magnitude of earthquakes which will be encountered during the life of the Project (and beyond).
- The second part demonstrated that the tailings dam wall will be stable under maximum earthquake scenarios.
KCB were also engaged to develop a three-dimensional model to examine the impacts of a theoretical tailings dam wall failure. They stated that the design can withstand a maximum expected earthquake over a 10,000-year period for southern Greenland.
Moreover, a 3D modelling by KCB (based on two-dimensional modelling of a hypothetical failure scenario by independent consultant Arcadis) indicates that under a failure scenario, the released solids and water would be naturally channelled through the Taseq Valley to Illua Bay and not flow into the town of Narsaq (will not result in fatalities/ medium impact on environment).
Speaking of Arcadis, they confirmed that the latest information pertaining to the surface area of samples used for radon release test work in 2018, is consistent with previous calculations and have updated specific radon reports to include this and other information.
Productive Meetings Continue
The Company conducted a series of meetings with the advisors to the GoG to discuss possible impacts to the local water environment. The modifications are being incorporated into the updated EIA document.
Moreover, meetings were held with Greenland’s Minister for Finance and Mineral Resources, and his colleagues during PDAC conference in Toronto to fast track permitting.
To know about the PDAC conference, PLEASE READ- Greenland Minerals Presents Kvanefjeld Project Significance At PDAC Mining Conference, Stock Up ~10%
Currently, Shared Resources, Specialist consultancy, is further updating the key EIA document (integrating results of the addition studies), which will be completed before this month end.
Ms Liz Wall, who was instrumental in developing the SIA and has strong working knowledge of the Project, is looking into the same. This is then expected to be lodged with the GoG at the start of April, as GGG is confident of Type 1 issues being satisfactorily addressed.
Reviews of the additional material will begin upon submission and translations of the main EIA document will be undertaken. GGG believes that updating the translated EIA versions will be an efficient process, as these have been done previously, and modifications and additional material is relatively minor.
As the world is exposed to repercussions of the COVID 19 outbreak, GGG has been coordinating with relevant Greenland government departments that are operating remotely to examine the EIA material and prepare the further steps of the permitting process.