Geology and Ore 27, 2016

Magmatic titanium-vanadium potential in Greenland

Vanadium and titanium are both con- sidered strategic metals with significant economic importance and supply risk. For this reason, the Government of Greenland decided to make an assessment of the titanium-vanadium potential in Greenland with the purpose of promoting the results to the international exploration industry and possibly stimulate new exploration campaigns. A workshop on the ‘Assessment of the magmatic titanium-vanadium potential in Greenland’ was therefore arranged jointly by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the Ministry of Mineral Resources (MMR), Government of Greenland in November 2015. The main conclusion was that areas with known occurrences e.g. Skaergaard, Sinarsuk (Fiskenæsset), Stendalen and Isortoq were ranked with the highest potential for finding new undiscovered deposits. In addition, the relatively unexplored area of Kap York in North-West Greenland was ranked fairly high, primarily due to a major magnetic anomaly and favourable geology that could indicate the presence of one or more undiscovered deposits in the area.

Introduction

Vanadium is a minor commodity compared to base metals, but plays a vital role as an alloy additive in steel and in the chemicals and battery industries. Demand for vanadium is forecast to grow with increasing steel production, and there is also a potentially significant future usage in energy storage.

Much of the ‘primary’ vanadium is generated as a by-product in the steel industry from slag reprocessing, and vanadium is generally a co-product in mining. Prices are historically volatile and at present depressed, but there is interest in undeveloped vanadium-rich deposits around the world (Kerr 2013).

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) about 96% of primary vanadium production in 2013 was from three countries: China (51%), South Africa (26%) and Russia (19%). In terms of mining focused on vanadium, the larg est contributions come from the Rhovan Mine in South Africa. Several large de posits in the Panzhihua region of China are mined primarily for Fe and Ti, with vanadium as a by-product.

In USA about 95% of all titanium mined is used to manufacture TiO2 , an important pigment that adds whiteness, brightness and opacity to paint, plastic, paper, and ink. The other 5% is used to manufacture metal. Titanium and its alloys are used for a wide variety of aerospace, industrial and commercial applications.

More than half of the world’s titanium production is from ilmenite and rutile in shoreline placer deposits in Australia, South Africa, USA, India and Sri Lanka. Most of the remainder is supplied by magmatic ilmenite deposits in Canada, Norway, Finland and USA. The magmatic deposits yield ilmenite with a TiO2 content of 35–40%, whereas the shoreline placer deposits provide ilmenite of higher TiO2 content. Of the magmatic deposits, the most significant types are those associated with anorthosite or anorthosite-gabbro complexes; especially those of Precambrian age.

Due to time limitations, it was agreed before the workshop to assess only the magmatic type and not the placer type, however, it was mentioned at the workshop that also the placer type occurs in Greenland

This edition of Geology and Ore highlights the main results from the workshop, including descriptions of known magmatic titanium-vanadium occurrences in Greenland.

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