Geology and Ore 18, 2011

Sediment-hosted copper in Greenland

Assessment of potential and undiscovered Cu deposits

With the growing world population and with the technological advances, copper will continue to be a very important commodity. The mineral potential of Greenland is underexplored. However, this magazine illustrates that Greenland could hold a good potential for undiscovered Cu deposits. Especially the large sedimentary successions in Greenland are favourable for sediment-hosted copper occurrences. Occurrences related to the Reduced-facies (Kupferschiefer) Cu, Redbed Cu, Revett Cu and Volcanic Redbed Cu types have all been discovered in Greenland. However, in most cases the known occurrences have only seen very limited investigation as only few exploration campaigns have been focused on copper.


Sedimentary basin environments younger than 1600 million years (Ma) constitute c. 40% of Greenland’s 410 000 km2 ice-free land. Of this, the Phanerozoic basins (<400 Ma) accounts for c. 20% (31 570 km2), the Lower Palaeozoic and the Neoproterozoic basins for c. 50% (85 280 km2) and the Mesoproterozoic basins for c. 30% (47 970 km2). These basins are well-known for several mineralisation types of which sedimenthosted copper, in the form of especially Reduced-facies and Redbed copper types, are some of the more encountered types. However, only limited exploration has been carried out on copper deposits hosted in the sedimentary successions.

A 'Workshop on the Potential for Undis - covered Sedimentary Hosted Copper De - posits in Greenland' was held in 2009. The purpose of the workshop was to assist the mineral sector in their planning of new ex - ploration targets and provide the sector with the scientific background and necessary data to make qualified decisions. The workshop was arranged by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP). The workshop was also part of the cooperative international effort 'Global Mineral Resource Assessment Project' (GMRAP) led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

This magazine highlights some of the results from this workshop, including characteristics of the main sedimentary provinces in Greenland, their known Cu deposits and the resulting potential for undiscovered Cu deposits within these provinces.

The magazine