It seems that a country that has long gone unnoticed has become the coveted toy to be fought over by two powerful countries – America and China.
Of late, U.S. President, Donald Trump, has hinted at his interest in the country, making jokes of outright buying it from the Danish Government, but the U.S. Ambassador’s recent visit to the country shows that this interest may be quite serious.
However, China has already staked its claim as the largest shareholder of an Australian company called Greenland Minerals; Shenghe Resources Holdings, a leading producer of rare earths in China, has an 11% stake to ensure a resource for elements that may be helpful in future technological development, such as rocket guidance systems and electric motors.
Greenland Minerals sought Shenghe out when it failed to get the support it needed from its own country, Europe, or even North America.
This was, most likely, because the original plan for Greenland Mineral’s was a uranium project. However, the focus eventually shifted to rare earths in the same ore-body, somewhere in the southwest quarter of Greenland – which just so happens to be its closest point to the U.S.
It seems that the resources at Kvanefjeld have been established enough to sustain an initial mine life of 37 years, and the estimated capital cost of developing the project was reduced by an optimized feasibility last month by 40% to $505 million.
The operating costs have also been similarly reduced.
In its June quarter report, Greenland Minerals said its latest work had confirmed Kavenefjeld as: "one of the most significant emerging rare earth projects globally with a large projected output of neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium."
Of course, China is eager to be up to their elbows in these resources as electric motors as well as more advanced and strategically sensitive technologies will be possible from the resources found at Kavenfjeld, so the topic of rare earth has become quite heated as China dominates and even threatens to make restrictions on exports to the U.S.
However, Greenland Minerals has conducted a meeting, first, between Greenland Minerals and Shenge in their Perth head office to discuss moving studies to a "commercial strategy and path to market."
The main point of contention is a buyer for Kvanefjeld's rare earths. Then, the Australian company had its meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Greenland, Carla Sands, who also paid a visit to a remote project site where a U.S. Geological Survey team had already been working with Greenland Minerals.
Trump may be making flippant jokes, but it seems from all these meetings like this small Australian company may actually have a big decision to make – China, America, or somehow both?