Greenland Minerals to challenge draft decision on Kuannersuit license

The Australia-listed miner said the draft decision is based on a rule that is being contested separately in court.

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View of the Narsaq Valley in southern Greenland toward Kvanefjeld, or Kuannersuit, mountain, one of the world’s biggest deposits of rare earth elements and the site of a proposed mine planned to be developed by Australian-listed company Greenland Minerals, in this undated September 2020 handout photo. (Greenland Minerals Ltd / Handout via Reuters)

Greenland Minerals Ltd said on Tuesday it will object to the Greenland government’s draft decision to not grant it a license for the Kuannersuit rare earths project, citing a legislation that effectively bans uranium exploration.

The Australia-listed miner said it will lodge an objection against the draft decision as it relies on a rule — which bans mining of ore bodies with uranium content of 100 parts per million (ppm) or greater — that is being contested separately in the court.

“The draft decision rejecting our application for a mining licence is at odds with Greenland’s stated policy to be a significant player in the energy transition,” Greenland Minerals’ Managing Director Daniel Mamadou said.

In March, Greenland Minerals took the governments of Greenland and Denmark to court for the legislation passed last year that banned uranium exploration and risked the development of the miner’s Kuannersuit project (also known as Kvanefjeld).

[Greenland restores uranium ban — likely halting a controversial rare earths mine]

So far, more than 1 billion tonnes of mineral resources and ore estimates of 108 million tonnes have been outlined in the Kuannersuit project area across three different zones. It also contains radioactive uranium, which some residents fear will harm the environment.

The development comes amid rising interest for rights to exploit rare earth deposits in Greenland, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates has the world’s biggest undeveloped deposits of the metals, which are necessary for numerous technologies, including electric vehicle batteries.

The Greenland government will make a final decision after a consultation process on the draft decision, the miner said on Tuesday. However, it expects relief from the arbitration process to obtain the exploration license.

“Despite the current situation, we hope the legal process will allow for a fully informed assessment of the project,” Mamadou said.

Shares of Greenland Minerals finished about 7 percent lower, their worst session in two weeks.

Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru.