Geology and Ore 25, 2014

Tungsten potential in Greenland

Tungsten-associated mineralising systems are evident in central East and South Greenland and present in several other regions of Greenland. This is one of the conclusions from a workshop on the assessment of undiscovered tungsten deposits that was held in December 2013. The highest ranked tracts, mineralisation types and grade-tonnage estimates from the workshop are briefly summarised here.

Introduction

Tungsten (W) has recently gained a lot of interest and is in several resource-criticality studies regarded as a critical metal with significant economic importance and supply risk. Tungsten possesses some unique properties such as high-tensile strength at high temperatures, low expansion coefficient, very high density, and high thermal and electrical conductivity. Properties that make it impossible to substitute in particular industrial applications such as hard metals used for cutting, drilling and wearresistant parts or coatings, or specialist steel and other alloys for e.g. high-speed steel, heat-resistant steel and tools where hardness and strength are required over a wide temperature range. The largest known deposits of tungsten minerals occur in China, Canada, UK and Russia with China being the world’s dominating producer for many years with 64% of the global tungsten reserve (2010 figures).

A workshop on the 'Assessment of the tungsten potential in Greenland' was arranged by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) in December 2013. The purpose of the workshop was to assess the possible presence of undiscovered tungsten deposits in the top 1 km of the crust in Greenland 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 US Geological Survey (USGS). One further objective of the workshop was to stimulate new exploration campaigns in Greenland.

This edition of Geology and Ore highlights the main results from the workshop, including descriptions of the most important tungsten provinces in Greenland, their known tungsten occurrences and the resulting potential for undiscovered tungsten deposits within these provinces. A more comprehensive GEUS survey report documenting the results from the workshop will be available mid-2014.

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