Kvanefjeld rare earths project, Greenland – update

4th June 2021

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Kvanefjeld rare earths project.

Kvanefjeld, in southern Greenland.

Project Owner/s
ASX-listed Greenland Minerals. Shenghe Resources has acquired a 12.5% interest in GMEL.

Project Description
The Kvanefjeld project is underpinned by the world’s biggest code-compliant rare earths resource.

The outcomes of a feasibility study in 2016 demonstrated the potential of the project to be developed as a large-scale, low-cost producer of rare earths. The feasibility study envisaged the production of 30 000 t/y rare-earth oxide (REO) at a processing rate of three-million tonnes a year.

An optimised feasibility study was completed in May 2019, showing recovery improvements across the light and heavy rare-earth elements.

The increased recoveries will result in the production of 32 000 t/y REO at the processing rate of three-million tonnes a year adopted in the 2016 feasibility study.

The improved rare-earth recoveries have increased the projected output of commercially important rare earths to 4 260 t/y for neodymium oxide, 1 420 t/y for praseodymium oxide and 270 t/y for dysprosium oxide.

Average by-product output includes 451 t/y of uranium oxide, 6 060 t/y of zinc concentrate and 12 417 t/y of fluorspar. The increase in rare-earth recoveries is primarily owing to the design of a single-leach stage, which results in fewer solid/liquid separation stages. Each separation stage results in minor rare-earth losses. Kvanefjeld is well positioned to be a significant contributor to global rare-earth supply for an initial 37-year period, based on a 108-million-tonne ore reserve.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The 2016 feasibility study estimated the project’s net present value at $1.59-billion, at a 10% discount rate. The internal rate of return is 43.4%, with a payback of five years.

Capital Expenditure
The projected capital cost for the Kvanefjeld rare earths project has been reduced by an estimated 40%, from $832-million to $505-million. This reduction resulted from optimisation studies covering all elements of the project, from the flowsheet to civil construction.

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
The Greenland government has extended the public consultation period for the Kvanefjeld rare earth project from June 1 until September 13.

The extension is to enable further public meetings to be conducted, which will have political representation.

The future of the Kvanefjeld project has come into question following the election of a new government in April 2021. The new coalition government includes the Inuit Ataqatigiit and Naleraq parties, which has publicly stated a political intention to cease the development of the Kvanefjeld rare earths project, owing to the presence of uranium as a by-product.

While Kvanefjeld’s development strategy is focused on the production of rare earths, it also incorporates the by-production of zinc, uranium and fluorspar, with the uranium occurring at relatively low grades compared to most primary uranium mines.

Greenland Minerals has previously noted that while the uranium is not of great economic significance to the Kvanefjeld project, the revenues generated by the uranium and other by-products will serve to reduce the rare earth production costs.

In addition to extending the public consultation process for the rare earth project, government has also confirmed that casework on the processing of the Kvanefjeld exploitation licence application will be completed, which involves the preparation of a White Paper, based on consultation responses

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
GMEL, tel +61 8 9382 or fax +61 8 9382 2788.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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