Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited is pleased to announce the completion of a Feasibility Study (the Study) into the development of the Kvanefjeld rare earth - uranium Project (the Project).
The Project, located in southern Greenland, comprises several large multi-element deposits rich in rare earth elements, uranium and zinc. Collectively, these deposits represent one of the world's largest identified mineral resources of rare earths and uranium.
The Kvanefjeld Feasibility Study incorporates extensive technical, environmental and social studies conducted and commissioned by GMEL over the past seven years. The Study Base-Case evaluates the development of a mine, mineral concentrator, refinery and supporting infrastructure located in the south west of Greenland treating 3.0 million tonnes per annum of ore.
The Project is located near existing infrastructure and townships in southern Greenland, with direct shipping access year round, and an international airport only 35 km away.
The Project's primary product will be a critical mixed rare earth oxide concentrate. Critical rare earths are those rare earths, particularly important for green technologies, which are forecast to be in short supply over time (neodymium, praseodymium, europium, dysprosium, terbium, and yttrium).
Kvanefjeld will also produce uranium oxide, lanthanum and cerium products, zinc concentrate and fluorspar. The project economics are relatively insensitive to the pricing of these by-products.
A key strength of the Project is its attractive metallurgy. The Project's unique rare earth and uranium bearing minerals can be concentrated into less than 10% of the original ore mass utilising froth flotation. The minerals are also non-refractory and can be effectively treated using an atmospheric sulphuric acid leach. There is no requirement for complex mineral "cracking". The process flow sheet has been rigorously developed by GMEL, and has been the subject of extensive test work, including three pilot plant campaigns.
Rare Earth Business Strategy
GMEL continues to advance its dialogue with China Non-Ferrous Metal Industry's Foreign Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. (NFC) under the terms of a 'Memorandum of Understanding'. NFC and GMEL are working to cooperate on the separation of the critical rare earth concentrates from Kvanefjeld into high-purity individual rare earth oxides, and the subsequent product marketing to end-users globally. NFC is a leader in rare earth separation technology and is also a highly-reputed engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contractor. NFC was involved in the preparation of the Feasibility Study and completed the capital cost estimate based on detailed engineering design conducted by Tetra Tech Proteus.
Changes from Previous Kvanefjeld Study
The capital cost of the Project has increased since GMEL released the results of its 'Mine and Concentrator Study' in 2013. The increase reflects the fact that, in order to comply with Greenland's Mining Act, which requires that as much downstream processing as feasibly possible be conducted in Greenland, the Project's refinery has been relocated to Greenland. The Mine and Concentrator Study had considered the establishment of a dedicated rare earth refinery outside of Greenland in an industrial environment served by appropriate infrastructure. In addition to this change, lanthanum and cerium separation has been introduced to the refining circuit. Despite the increase in capital cost, the NPV generated by both studies is similar, largely due to improved processing efficiency and product recoveries.
The Kvanefjeld Feasibility Study represents a major Project milestone, and, along with environmental and social impact assessments, is a key component of an application for an exploitation (mining) license. GMEL is aiming to complete the environmental and social impact assessments in Q3, 2015, and will subsequently lodge an exploitation license application with the Greenland government.