Geology and Ore 21, 2012

The zinc potential in Greenland

Assessment of undiscovered sediment-hosted zinc deposits

Zinc showings and occurrences are numerous in Greenland. In particular, the Palaeozoic Franklinian Basin, North Greenland, which extends for more than 2,500 km E–W through the Canadian Arctic Islands and northern Greenland, and is dominated by geological settings favourable for sediment-hosted zinc deposits, is considered to carry a large potential for hosting undiscovered zinc deposits. Until now the Palaeoproterzoic sedimentary rocks have been the most important Greenlandic zinc source, namely the Black Angel mine. However, zinc is also known from several occurrences in the Archaean, and the Meso- to Neoproterozoic and Phanerozoic sedimentary environments of West and East Greenland. 


A workshop on the 'Assessment of the zinc potential in Greenland' was arranged by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP) on 29 November - 1 December 2011. The purpose of the workshop was to assess the possible presence of undiscovered zinc deposits in Greenland in the top 1 km of the Earth's crust and to rank the most prospective areas. The procedures for the assessment and ranking of the individual tracts were designed to comply, as much as possible, with the 'Global Mineral Resource Assessment Project' (GMRAP) procedures defined by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). One further objective of the workshop is to stimulate new exploration campaigns in Greenland. This issue of Geology & Ore highlights some of the results from the workshop, including descriptions of the most important sedimentary provinces in Greenland, their known zinc deposits/occurrences and the resulting potential for undiscovered zinc deposits within these provinces. A more comprehensive GEUS survey report documenting the results from the workshop will be available mid-2012.

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