Greenland Awards London Mining with Huge Iron Ore Project
Greenland has awarded a groundbreaking and exclusive 30-year licence to UK-based London Mining, allowing it to build and run a huge iron ore mine in what is being called the largest commercial project in Greenland’s history.
London Mining states on its website that it is expecting the £1.5 billion Isua project to produce 15 million tonnes of high quality iron ore concentrate that it can deliver to the global steel industry via committed deep water ports that will ship year round.
Industry and Minerals Minister Jens-Erik Kirkegaard said: “This is indeed a historic moment for Greenland”. Greenland has the freedom to run itself, but is within the Kingdom of Denmark. Although Greenland’s economy is mostly dependent on Inuit fishing, Denmark also offers financial support. Mr Kirkegaard thinks the project will boost employment and state profits, giving the country a little more independence.
Greenland is considered to be one of the last unspoilt countries in the world and has a population of only about 56,000. The Isua project is expected to bring at least 3,000 more people to Greenland as workers to help manage the iron ore mine and its facilities.
Environmentalists are the only people who have issues with the plan, and want to be reassured that the environment will not suffer at the expense of the exploitation of the deposits. The Secretary General of WWF Denmark, Gitte Seeberg, is urging the Greenland government to insist the mine be powered by hydroelectric power, rather than the usual diesel method.
Graeme Hossie, Chief Executive Office of London Mining, expressed how pleased the company is to receive the licence for the Isua project, after so many years of exploration and development work. “Isua is an important project for Greenland and its development will help deliver the key objectives for Greenland of economic growth and diversification from sustainable mining activity,” he said.
Greenland’s parliament also recently voted for the end of a 25-year ban on digging for radioactive materials like uranium, meaning that mining centres like Australia and China can invest in projects similar to Isua.
Earlier this year, in Greenland’s general election, concerns were raised by the native people about their country’s future being governed by polluting industries, like mining.
The election was won by Aleqa Hammond, of the Siumut party, who wants to start up the mining of rare minerals that previously couldn’t be mined because they often contain uranium. These minerals could provide an even vaster profit for Greenland because they can be used in the production of smartphone components, and other modern technologies.
Ms Hammond says the recent change in law is a way to pay for the domestic development of their economy, and also a way to make the world sit up and take notice of Greenland. No longer content with sitting quietly in the back, Greenland are going to prove they have every bit as much to offer as any other country. Isua is only the beginning.