Greenland lead and zinc mine approved for operation

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Greenland’s Self-Rule Authority has given the go-ahead to begin construction of one of the largest mines in the country to date.

Ironbark, an Australian firm, is expected to begin construction of the Citronen lead and zinc mine in far north-eastern Greenland in 2017 or 2018. Once in operation, it would be the country’s first ‘large-scale’ mining project, a term applied to mines estimated to cost more than 5 billion kroner ($700 million) to establish and requiring more employees than are available locally.

Once operational, the mine is expected to employ 500. During construction, about 60 Greenlandic employees will be hired. According to the agreement signed with Greenlandic officials, Ironbark is required to employ Greenlandic labour to the extent possible, as well as to fund job-training.

With the approval in hand, Ironbark, which holds the rights to two other mining projects in Greenland, will now use the next several months to finalise financing for the project.

Ironbark has not announced how much money it needs to begin construction and operation, but it has previously stated that it will take 2.7 billion kroner to build the mine and 3 billion to operate it over during its estimated 14-year life.

Company officials have previously stated they have tentative agreements with firms that have expressed an interest in purchasing the mine’s ore.

During the past eight years, Greenlandic authorities have approved six mining operations. Currently none are operational. That is expected to change next year when at least two mines are expected to come on-line.