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Mining rare earths to start in Greenland in 2024

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The company Tanbreez Mining wants to mine rare earths in Greenland from 2024 onwards. The supply of these essential elements for electric motors is currently dominated by China, and the Greenland mining project aims to supply Europe’s needs more locally from next year onwards.

The German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported that North American and European industry players will no longer depend on Asian suppliers of rare earths when the mine and corresponding refineries in the USA and Europe are set up next year.

“Tanbreez alone holds more than half of the world’s rare earth reserves,” Greg Barnes, geologist and private owner of Tanbreez Mining, told the German magazine. The planned mine promises some 19 million tons of rare earth oxide. Barnes revealed that thirty per cent of this amount is made up of extremely sought-after heavy rare earths. “We can start production as early as next year,” he said. Greenland’s deputy mining minister, Jørgen Hammeken-Holm, confirmed to the magazine that a mining permit had been issued.

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For mining to begin, a factory capable of dissolving rare earths from eudialyte rock is required, which currently only exists in Russia and China. Barnes told WirtschaftsWoche that a corresponding factory would be built in the U.S. in the next few months and that there are plans for a production facility in Europe. So far, a possible location for the European refinery has not yet been disclosed. Barnes explained to the magazine that a plant for extracting the rare earths would cost “only about $40 million,” while a comparable plant in China cost more than four times that amount about a decade ago.

According to the company, the mine is located in southern Greenland in a sheep farming district. The main rare earths present at the location in Tanbreez are cerium (35.27 per cent), lanthanum (18.01 per cent) and yttrium (16.63 per cent).

 

Source: electrive

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