Greenland: A New Source of Metal Supply?

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Minor Metals, Non-ferrous Metals

Most people don’t think of Greenland as an emerging economy. With a population of 56,000, it just doesn’t show up on the radar screen, unless of course, you are in the metals industry. So how could one consider Greenland an emerging economy? First, the country will become independent (from Denmark) on June 21, according to a recent Business Week article. Second, the new government plans to capitalize on many of the country’s natural resources. And those two factors have generated interest from some big companies.

Alcoa would like to take advantage of cheap hydroelectric power because Greenland is home to many flowing rivers. According to the Business Week article, Alcoa may build a smelter. But other natural resources including oil, lead, zinc and several precious metals ” gold, platinum, palladium appear more economically viable because global warming has created faster flowing rivers. The article also mentions that one mine for lead and zinc has reopened because it is easier to reach.

Some of the less commonly used metals (but no less important) are mined alongside lead and zinc (these include indium, gallium, selenium). Does Greenland present opportunities for those metals? Stay tuned¦

–Lisa Reisman

Comments (2)

  1. Hi Lisa,

    I am quite surprised to read about the independance of Greenland. Moreover, I am concerned about the new metal exploration projects that come as a result of global warming. Will the mining companies do nothing on global warming in order to have access to metals? very scary thought.

  2. admin says:

    Global warming presents some very interesting conundrums for the metals industries. On the one hand, many view mining “as bad” but on the other, many of the new green technologies simply can’t work without metals. Everything from solar panels to batteries for hybrid cars to windmills require metals. Personally, I think it’s impossible to have it both ways. “Green technologies” require metals, hence the need for more mining. It might be sad but we are nowhere near a place where we can “do without” metals. If we don’t mine, prices increase and we have shortages….shortages of the materials needed to go green. Now, whether or not we need to mine in sectors with very depressed price levels is another story but we will need these minor metals, rare earths etc from somewhere….LAR

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