Rare Earth Elements at Kvanefjeld

The Kvanefjeld multi-element project in southern Greenland has grown rapidly to become one of the largest deposits of rare earth metals in the world. Yet the value of a rare earth element resource is not just dependant on the overall grade and tonnage of the resource, but is greatly influenced by the proportion of individual rare earth elements. (Download pdf REE and Kuannersuit / Kvanefjeld)

Light rare earth elements nearly always occur in much greater abundance than heavy rare earth elements. Owing to the relative scarcity of heavy rare earths, and the ever increasing applications for these metals, their demand and value is soaring.  Two dominant types of rare earth deposits include those associated with carbonatites (Mountain Pass, Mt Weld, Hoidas Lake), and those associated with peralkaline igneous complexes (Kvanefjeld, Thor Lake, Strange Lake). It is generally the deposits that are associated with peralkaline complexes that are relatively enriched in the lucrative heavy rare earth elements. The Ilimaussaq Complex, host to Kvanefjeld, is the world’s type-location for agpaitic nepheline syenites; an extreme form of peralkaline igneous rocks. Accordingly, the rare earth element resource at Kvanefjeld is not just extremely large, but also contains a favourable mix of rare earth elements, with a relative enrichment of the so-called heavies. Kvanefjeld is also strongly enriched in yttrium; an element that is not a lanthanide but is included with rare earths owing to its similar chemical properties to heavy rare earths. In the higher grade portion of the Kvanefjeld resource (250ppm U3O8 cut-off) the heavy rare earth oxides and yttrium oxide combined account for 12% of the total rare earth oxide (TREO) inventory.

Today there are a number of emerging non-Chinese mining projects that could aid in solving the current REE supply crisis. Amongst these Kvanefjeld can play a big role. The primary focus of Greenland Minerals metallurgical team is to achieve the maximum possible recoveries of CRE’s at the lowest achievable cost. Revenue streams from the by-production of uranium and zinc are anticipated to provide a firm economic keel to the projects overall economics, and ensure a highly competitive equivalent cost of rare earth production.

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