Rare Earths Play Sweats on Greenland OK


" This site. . . represent[s] a monopoly-breaker of Chinese dominance."

Greenland Minerals and Energy (GGG) is sitting on arguably the world's biggest rare earths deposit, one that some say could go a long way to breaking China's monopoly in the growing sector.

But China's stranglehold will remain unthreatened as long as Greenland's newly elected socialist government continues to ban mining at the deposit because it will need to produce uranium as a by-product.

Greenland's zero-tolerance on uranium mining is being reviewed as the country prepares to take full sovereignty from Denmark over its natural resources in January.

China has slashed exports of rare earths every year since 2000, much to the despair of Japan, which has plans to forge ahead in new markets, such as electric cars.

Those restrictions have sent the likes of Toyota and Japan's largest trading houses scrambling to secure more supply, with government sources in Tokyo describing a "panic mentality" among some large industrial groups.

GGG shares jumped 12% to 45c yesterday, pushing its market value to $100m, after a British newspaper report said the company's Kvanefjeld deposit could shift the balance of power in the supply of rare earths metals.

The report did not mention the deposit could not currently be mined under Greenland laws because of its uranium content.

Greenland Minerals general manager John Mair said the government had not given a timetable for its review of uranium restrictions; the company was hoping it would be finished in the first half of next year.

He said conversations with the government had been positive and that it might change its policy from one of zero tolerance to allowing uranium to be mined as a by-product.

Chief executive Roderick McIllree was more forthright.

"This site is a country-maker for Greenland and the first big opportunity to represent a monopoly-breaker of Chinese dominance," he said.

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