Plans to develop a major rare-earth mine in Greenland were put in serious jeopardy today after the semi-autonomous Danish island’s left-wing environmentalist party won a partial victory in this week’s general elections. It had been mainly campaigning against a project whose supporters claim could transform the economy. The party, won 37% of the vote and will need to negotiate a coalition to form a government, but observers believe that the result dashed Australian mining company Greenland Minerals’ immediate hopes of developing what it claims could have become ‘the most significant Western world producer of rare earths’.
Rare earths play a crucial part in the high-tech global supply chain and are used in the manufacture of everything from cellphones to, ironically, several ‘green’ technologies including rechargeable batteries and wind turbines. Although the mine’s supporters argue that it would help reduce the West’s dependence on China for its supplies, 11% of Greenland Minerals is, perhaps even more ironically, held by the Chinese rare-earth market market leader Shenghe Resources,