MELBOURNE, April 9 (Reuters) - Australia's Greenland
Minerals said on Friday uranium was of no great
importance to its rare earth mining project in Greenland, as it
seeks to assuage concerns in the face of opposition from the
Arctic island's newly formed government.
Doubts have risen over the future of the Kvanefjeld project
as the left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party pledged on
Wednesday its opposition after winning a parliamentary election.
Greenland Minerals said it would engage in talks with the
new government over the project, helping its shares recover from
their worst day on record in the previous session.
One of the advantages of the Kvanefjeld ore and why it
carries a high profile among rare earth projects is because it
is large, it has simple processing, and a large enrichment of
rare earths, Managing Director John Mair told Reuters.
This includes light rare earths neodymium and praseodymium
as well as heavy rare earths dysprosium and terbium, he said,
which are used in strong magnets in items such as engines and
Drawing attention to IA's "anti-uranium" stance, Greenland
Minerals said the metal was not of great economic significance
to the project, which is focused on the production of rare earth
Whats important is the radioactive component has been
studied in great detail, by world leading experts, studied and
signed off and there really have not been any issue with respect
to communities, the environment or workers, he said.
The Australian explorer, which has been operating in
Greenland since 2007, holds the licence for the project and
gained preliminary approval for it last year.
A public consultation process runs until June, after which a
company would typically respond to public concerns in a white
paper. After that it would still need government permits before
any production could begin, he said.
The company has already spent more than $100 million
preparing the mine and has proven processing technology through
its Chinese partner Shenghe Resources. If the project meets all
those requirements, then it should be producing around the
middle of the decade, Mair added.
International mining companies have been pushing for rights
to exploit the rare earth deposits in Greenland, which the U.S.
Geological Survey says are the world's biggest undeveloped
Shares of Greenland Minerals closed up 23.6%, partially
recovering from the previous day's slump.
On Thursday, the stock tanked more than 44% in its worst day
before trade was halted for an update on the election results.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne and Shruti Sonal in
Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Subhranshu Sahu and Toby