Metal and mining experts rightly opine that the raw material diplomacy has begun and is amid us to stay. Rare Earths (RE) are one of the most profound constituents of this opinion, and belong to the critical metals, which are essential for the society’s development and become important as technological advances are made. They are indispensable ingredients of wind turbines, EVs and smartphones. However, RE are difficult to get off-ground and put into production.
In this backdrop, we introduce to you, an ASX-listed RE focused company, Greenland Minerals Limited (ASX:GGG), operating in Greenland since 2007. The Company has been developing the Kvanefjeld RE Project in south west Greenland, unlocking the opportunities in the wealth that lay beneath the surface of the mineral-rich mighty mountain.
To Know More About the Development of the Kvanefjeld RE Project, PLEASE READ-
On 3 March 2020, GGG presented at the PDAC Mining Conference, a premier international event for the minerals and mining industry. Let us browse over GGG’s role in positioning Greenland to be a major international RE supplier, as presented in the Conference-
The RE Sector and Kvanefjeld Project’s Significance
GGG believes that a change is approaching the RE sector with substantial restructure driven by major near-term global demand growth due to the roll-out of EV’s. RE is bound to play a vital role in the electrification of transport systems and energy efficiency through the RE magnets (Nd, Pr, Tb, Dy).
To keep this RE demand momentum efficient, GGG is well positioned to become a globally significant supplier of rare earth materials through its 100% owned Kvanefjeld Project, one of the most significant, advanced RE projects globally, well-positioned for development window.
Below are distinguished features of the Project:
The Project is located near existing infrastructure in southern Greenland, with year-round direct shipping access and a nearby airport, giving it a major logistical advantage. Moreover, a mild climate persists in the region- making it an optimal location.
Another significant factor adding value to the Project is southern Greenland municipality’s vision of regarding new industry and economic growth as vital.
The China Narrative at Kvanefjeld
Currently, China holds over 80% of the global RE market besides, owning both the technology and the value chain when it comes to the production and sale of RE. Off late, the Chinese monopoly for RE has been a subject of discussion, as production restrictions have been applied to RE mine supply in China, with new ex-China mines needed to meet massive demand surge for magnet metals.
Since 2012, GGG has been engaging with China’s RE industry groups. Parallelly, the world’s second-largest producer of RE- Shenghe Resources surveyed over 60 RE projects in the world and chose Kvanefjeld (in 2016) due to its unique, special and advantageous metallurgy. Shenghe believes that the Project is one of the world’s most significant & high-quality RE projects.
Shenghe remains focussed on growth through moving into international supply and is supporting the Company’s management in maximising the potential and doubling the Project value. On the other hand, GGG has access to Shenghe’s knowledge and expertise in the RE processing.
Acknowledging key requirement of successful integration with downstream processing, GGG has been working along with Shenghe, its biggest shareholder to develop the Project. Both the companies are working collaboratively to establish a new fully integrated RE supply business, with full proficiency from mine to separated product.
Moreover, they are on a look out to strengthen ties with the European industry, which is a growing demand centre for RE.
Recently, Shenghe Chairman Mr Hu Zesong presented at the 2019 Confederation of Danish Industry’s Greenland Conference, updating about the project status and development strategy (focus on commercial development in Europe.
For more insight, PLEASE READ: Greenland Minerals Maximising the Potential of the Rare-Earth Rich Kvanefjeld Project
Optimisation Results at Kvanefjeld
Nuna Logistics, Tetra Tech, PDN Engineers, China-CCC were the leading international engineering firms conducting collaborative onsite surveys/studies at Kvanefjeld.
The Project is developing under the guidance of Shenghe, via world-leading RE processing technology. Test work programs were conducted in both China and Australia with major improvements developed to both flotation and refinery circuits.
The flotation improvements generate a higher-grade, low-volume RE mineral concentrate, facilitating the refining (Single stage atmospheric leach circuit). Below are the results attained at the Project-
- Improved recoveries, 40% reduction in annual operating costs
- Unit costs of less than US$4/kg of REO, net of by-product credits (marking the lowest of undeveloped REE projects in ASX-listed companies)
- Follow-up studies have resulted in a 44% reduction in civil construction costs to US $175M
- Cost reductions achieved through metallurgical optimisation to reduce overall capital costs substantially; Capital costs reduced to US$505M
- RE production of 32,100t/a REO in intermediate product, incl. 5,692 t NdPr oxide, 270 t Dy oxide, 44t Tb oxide
Permitting Status & Community Role
The Project has been subjected to thorough and rigorous approaches to its impact assessments and is currently under an advanced permitting status, with review phase nearing completion.
The Social Impact Assessment has been reviewed, updated and accepted for public consultation. Likewise, the Environmental Impact Assessment has been Reviewed and additional supporting studies remain on track for completion in March 2020.
Another vital aspect of the Project has been the role of the local Greenland community. The stakeholder engagement in the local community along with input into project ‘Terms of Reference’, was approved in 2015. Subsequently, GGG signed an MoU with municipality and local business council (Kommune Kujalleq and Kujalleq Business Council) to negotiate a participation agreement to cover community involvement and capacity development.
Garnering significant investor interest after the PDAC Mining Conference, GGG soared by 10% on the ASX to settle at $0.096.
With a strong foundation set for the development success, GGG seems to be well-positioned for the upcoming development window to meet RE demand surge. The support of a proficient shareholder, local community and government is a huge boon to the Project.