Moon Dust: Greenland’s Recipe For Saving Planet Earth

By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

QEQERTARSUATSIAAT FJORD, Greenland, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Among the many glaciers and turquoise fjords of southwestern Greenland, a mining firm is betting rock similar to the one the Apollo missions brought again from the moon can handle some of Planet Earth’s local weather change problems.

“This rock was created in the early days within the formation of our planet,” says geologist Anders Norby-Lie, who started exploring anorthosite on the distant mountain panorama in Greenland 9 years in the past.

More not too long ago, it has excited mining companies and buyers hoping to sell it as a relatively sustainable supply of aluminium in addition to an ingredient to make fibreglass.

The government elected in April has positioned it at the centre of its efforts to promote Greenland as environmentally accountable and even the U.S. area agency NASA has taken notice.

The mineral-wealthy island has develop into a sizzling prospect for miners seeking something from copper and titanium to platinum and uncommon earth minerals, that are needed for electric automobile motors.

That might appear a straightforward answer to Greenland’s challenge of the right way to develop its tiny financial system so it can realise its lengthy-term purpose of independence from Denmark, but the federal government campaigned on an environmental platform and must honour that.

“Not all cash is price earning,” Greenland’s mineral sources minister Naaja Nathanielsen told Reuters in an interview in the capital Nuuk. “Now we have a greener profile, and we have been prepared to make some selections on it pretty rapidly.”

Already the federal government has banned future oil and gas exploration and wants to reinstate a ban on uranium mining.

That will halt growth of one of the world’s largest rare earth deposits, named Kuannersuit in Greenlandic and Kvanefjeld in Danish as a result of the deposit also incorporates uranium.

Kuannersuit, whose operator was in the final phases of securing a permit to mine, was a flashpoint situation in April’s election https://www.reuters. In case you have virtually any questions about wherever along with how to work with mold steel tubing (mouse click the up coming internet site), you’ll be able to email us with our web-page. com/enterprise/sustainable-business/mining-magnets-arctic-island-finds-green-energy-can-be-curse-2021-03-02 because locals concern the uranium it contains might harm the country’s fragile environment.

“So far as we’re involved, uranium is a political issue which is being pushed by exaggerated and deceptive claims,” licence holder Greenland Minerals CEO John Mair informed Reuters.

The mine could bring in royalties of around 1.5 billion Danish crowns ($233 million) annually, the federal government has said.

By contrast, revenue from two small mines working within the nation is negligible, and Nathanielsen says the government’s price range plans do not assume any mining income.


Some see little point in mineral exploitation until Greenland has achieved independence.

A Danish colony till 1953, the semi-autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark has the fitting to declare independence by a easy vote, but that is likely to be a distant prospect.

Greenland has commissioned work to draft a structure for a future independent Greenland.

Meanwhile, Greenland’s 57,000 folks rely on fishing and grants from Denmark.

The grants could be reduced in proportion to future earnings from mining, prompting some to say the minerals ought to be left in the ground for now.

“Under the current settlement, large-scale mineral extraction makes no sense,” Pele Broberg, minister for enterprise and trade, told Reuters. “Why ought to we try this whereas we’re subject to another nation?”

Others are concerned the government is deterring investment in large-scale mining of extra conventional minerals, which they say is the solution to diversify the economic system and make it able to standing alone.

Jess Berthelsen, head of Greenland’s labour union SIK, had hoped the planned mine at Kuannersuit and different giant-scale tasks would create jobs and said the Danish grants held Greenland again.

“Sometimes I want Denmark would cease sending cash, as a result of then folks on this country would start waking up. It’s lulling us to sleep,” he mentioned.

Business lobbyists meanwhile worry about authorities’s plan to reinstate a uranium ban – solely eight years after it was lifted.

“The businesses are used to being under pressure from authorities, but they don’t seem to be used to this sort of instability,” Christian Keldsen, head of Greenland Business Association, mentioned.

Local Support

Those residing nearest to the standout mineral in the government plans for sustainable mining tend to support the pursuit of latest revenue.

“We’ve to search out other methods to earn money. We can’t simply stay off fishing,” said Johannes Hansen, an area fireman and carpenter dwelling in Qeqertarsuatsiaat. The town of around 160 individuals is about 50 minutes by boat from the planned anorthosite mine.

Greenland Anorthosite Mining, which is developing the mine, has a plan to ship one hundred twenty tonnes of crushed anorthosite to potential prospects in the fibreglass industry where it says it has value as a more environmental various to kaolin.

The corporate, which hopes to have an exploration permit by the tip of 2022, says anorthosite melts at a decrease temperature than kaolin, has a lower heavy metal content material and produces much less waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

The bigger intention is for anorthosite to be used as an alternative to bauxite to provide aluminium, one of many minerals seen as central to reducing emissions because it can be used to make automobiles lighter and is fully recyclable.

Greenland Anorthosite Mining says aluminium can be produced more simply than when bauxite ore, the primary supply of aluminium, is used, and again produces less waste compared with existing processes.

Anorthosite also fits in with European Union ambitions to diversify mineral sources. It’s present in Canada and Norway, as well as Greenland, whereas bauxite is concentrated in a belt across the Equator.

Asuncion Aranda, who is heading an EU-funded research challenge into anorthosite, said the technology had been seen to work although analysis is needed to cut costs and minimise the environmental impact.

“We don’t know yet if our process might be competitive from the beginning compared with the established production method,” she stated.

“If all goes nicely and the aluminium industry is in, then we could see the primary commercial production in eight to ten years.”


While the EU is focused on earthly makes use of and steel tube cheap curbing emissions, NASA has ambitions to search out new environments for human activity.

It has been using crushed anorthosite powder from a smaller Greenland mine already in production, operated by Canadian-based mostly Hudson Resources, to test gear as a part of an area race that would involve mining on the moon and even establishing communities there.

“The deposits in Greenland and elsewhere are usually not precisely like the moon, however they’re pretty darn shut,” stated John Gruener, an area scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre.

“If we’re actually going to live off the land on the south pole of the moon, which all people is all for now, we must learn to deal with anorthosite, the dominant rock that’s there,” he stated. “Having another supply of anorthosite from Greenland is great.”

Climate campaigners should not so sure.

Greenpeace has campaigned towards deep sea mineral extraction, saying it risks disturbing ecosystems we have not even begun to know and puts forward comparable arguments towards mining in area.

“We should be discovering sustainable options, not searching for more sources in new frontiers. There may be a lot we just do not know about these environments,” said Kevin Brigden, senior scientist at Greenpeace Research Laboratory.

Asked about the issues, Greenland’s useful resource ministry mentioned in an emailed assertion it didn’t anticipate minerals extracted in Greenland to be used only for green technology.

“But we work actively to optimise the green profile and utilise our assets within the service of the nice trigger,” it mentioned. ($1 = 6.