Rare Earth Element (REE) exploration in Greenland

Published 29-05-2015

Center for Minerals and Materials (MiMa)
summarizes the current status of Rare Earth Element (REE) exploration in Greenland and the development of advanced projects in the permitting process. There has been substantial progress in the definition of REE resources by exploration companies in recent years. Furthermore, the potential for additional discoveries is described based on an assessment of the geological REE endowment of Greenland. The REE are of critical importance for the manufacturing of many electronic products in the high-tech and green-tech industries. Currently, mining and processing of REE is strongly concentrated in China.

A substantial increase in global exploration for Rare Earth Element (REE) deposits has taken place in recent years and resulted in considerable advances in defining new resources globally. A large portion of these are located in Greenland, where reported total rare earth oxides resources hosted by advanced projects reached 38.5 Mt in 2015. This is due to substantial exploration efforts that build on geological knowledge accumulated over decades of investigations by research organisations and private exploration groups.

This report aims to provide an overview of the exploration potential in Greenland using ore deposit models to structure the description of the currently known REE districts. The potential for future discoveries is highlighted based on the results of an assessment workshop that focused on the characterization of the Greenlandic REE endowment. There is particularly good potential for future discoveries of alkaline intrusion-hosted and carbonatite-hosted REE deposits in Central East Greenland, South-East Greenland and in South Greenland.

The report also provides an overview of the ongoing REE projects. The status of the REE exploration in Greenland is presented in some detail, and describes the activities and licence claims of exploration companies at the time of writing (spring 2015). At this point, there are eight companies holding a total of 3,186 km2 of licence areas for REE exploration. Four projects have published a resource statement. For the two major REE projects (Kvanefjeld and Kringlerne, Gardar Province, South Greenland) an annual Greenlandic REE production of 26,000 tonnes TREO from around 2018 is tentatively forecasted by the exploration groups. Currently, both projects are in the permitting process towards an exploitation licence.

Download MiMa rapport 2015/2 (PDF-file ~ 4 mb)

Per Kalvig
Head of Center for Minerals and Materials (MiMa)
e-mail: pka@geus.dk