Geology and Ore 33, 2019

Assessment of potential and undiscovered Cu deposits

With the growing world population and with the ongoing energy transition, copper is expected to strengthen its importance as a key commodity. The mineral potential of Greenland is underexplored. However, this edition of Geology and Ore illustrates that Greenland could hold a good potential for undiscovered Cu deposits. The large sedimentary successions in Greenland are particularly 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. While most of the tracts holding potential for hosting sediment-hosted occurrences have only seen limited investigation, the Jameson Land Permian and Triassic formations have attracted significant exploration efforts over the last 15 years


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, especially in the form of Reduced-facies and Redbed copper types, are some of the more common types.However, only limited exploration has been carried out on copper deposits hosted in the sedimentary successions.

A ‘Workshop on the Potential for Undiscovered Sedimentary Hosted Copper Deposits in Greenland’ was held in 2009. The purpose of the workshop was to assist the mineral sector in their planning of new exploration 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 edition of Geology and Ore 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