Greenland challenge to Chinese over rare earth metals  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

I've seen some investment newsletters touting a Greenland based mining development that is "foil China's master plan" to achieve dominance in rare earth mineral production - this article from The Times back in October discusses the company being promoted - Greenland challenge to Chinese over rare earth metals.

An obscure, desolate plateau on the southwestern shores of Greenland could transform the future of consumer technology and shift the balance of power in the global supply of rare earth metals.

The treasure trove beneath the rocks and ice of the Ilimaussaq Intrusion represents the world’s largest known reserve of rare earth metals, the “technology” group of lanthanide elements used in products from mobile phones and low-energy light bulbs to hybrid cars and missile guidance systems.

The find has the potential, its developers claim, to severely dent China’s global monopoly over rare earth production, a 95 per cent dominance of total worldwide output that Beijing has strategically nurtured for 15 years and recently has started to treat as a potent trade weapon.

According to the Australian mining company with rights to develop it, the site could also spectacularly change the national fortunes of Greenland, which is undergoing significant political change as it draws closer to independence from Denmark. From January next year, Greenland will gain full sovereignty over its natural resources. The rare earths alone have the potential to double the country’s effective GDP.

Studies of the site show that the Ilimaussaq reserves would comfortably meet at least 25 per cent of global rare earth demand for the next halfcentury.

“This site is a country-maker for Greenland and the first big opportunity to represent a monopoly-breaker of Chinese dominance,” Roderick McIllree, the chief executive of Greenland Minerals & Energy, said.

The company has engaged advisers with a view to listing on the main board of the London Stock Exchange early next year, The Times has learnt. The site is expected to be able to produce about 50,000 tonnes per year of rare earth-bearing ore by 2014. The chairman of the subsidiary operating in Greenland will include Lars Emil Johansen, the country’s former prime minister.

The cost of extracting the rare earths will be offset by the profits from extracting uranium from the same site, effectively preventing China from undercutting the operation on price, which is how it obtained its dominance over the world market in the first place.

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