Chinese firm takes over Greenland mine project

The Chinese company General Nice Development has taken over a massive iron ore contract in western Greenland, Nuuk announced on Friday.

Chinese firm takes over Greenland mine project
Mining in Greenland. Photo: European Environment Agency/Flickr
Greenland has transferred a large iron ore licence to a Chinese company after now-bankrupt British London Mining was unable to fulfil its 30-year commitment to the multi-billion dollar project.
London Mining had been awarded the contract in 2013 but went bust a year later — when its operations in Sierra Leone were hit by the Ebola epidemic — and saw its assets acquired by Hong Kong-based General Nice Group.
The government of Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, announced Thursday on its website that the Chinese company will also take over the iron ore contract.
"The Government of Greenland believes that the company will raise the necessary funding… for the development of the concession of Isukasia" in the west of the island, it wrote.
General Nice Development, a mining company that boasts an annual turnover of more than $18 billion (113 billion kroner, 15 billion euros), will continue preparing the site for exploitation.
No start date for the operation has been specified.
The project is still awaiting building permits for some facilities, accommodation for workers and a 65-mile-long road (105 kilometres) that will connect the site to new harbour facilities.

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Greenland passes law banning uranium mining

Greenland's parliament voted Tuesday to ban uranium mining and exploration in the vast Danish territory, following through on a campaign promise from the ruling left-wing party which was elected earlier this year.

Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement.
Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement. File photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won snap elections in April that were originally triggered by divisions over a controversial uranium and rare earth mining project.

The IA won 12 seats in the 31-seat Greenlandic national assembly, beating its rival Siumut, a social democratic party that had dominated politics in the island territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

On Tuesday 12 MPs in the national assembly voted to ban uranium mining, with nine voting against. 

The IA had campaigned against exploiting the Kuannersuit deposit, which is located in fjords in the island’s south and is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals.

The project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has not yet been officially abandoned.

But French group Orano announced in May it would not launch exploration despite holding permits to do so.

The massive natural riches of the vast island — measuring two million square kilometres, making it larger than Mexico — have been eyed by many, but few projects have been approved.

The island is currently home to two mines: one for anorthosite, whose deposits contain titanium, and one for rubies and pink sapphires.

While Greenland’s local government is not opposed to all mining activities, it has also banned all oil exploration over concerns for the climate and the environment.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Mute Egede said he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement, which Greenland is one of the few countries not to have ratified.

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