A method to evaluate REE-HFSE mineralised provinces by value creation potential, and an example of application: Gardar REE-HFSE province, Greenland

Graham J. Banks, Símun D. Olsen, Antonio Gusak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The rare earth elements and high-field-strength elements (REE-HFSE) exploration sector conducts most evaluations at deposit and smaller scales. It is not evident how the sector performs a preceding exploration stage—rating and prioritising REE-HFSE mineralised provinces—to determine which provinces are prospective enough to warrant investment. Here we present an objective, repeatable, low-cost method to screen any REE-HFSE province, as a foundation for district-scale investigations or asset evaluations. It is original for REE-HFSE screening, and adapted from regional scale copper, cobalt and petroleum exploration, and CO2 storage, screening methods. It is centred upon a mineralised province's favourability for potential value creation, and to identify: (a) its main information gaps; (b) its weakest links; (c) its exploration maturity and remaining potential category; (d) how it compares against other REE-HFSE provinces; and (e) if further investigation is justified. This method incorporates geoscience, strategy, economic and socio-environmental factors in a way that is understandable and directly usable across stakeholder groups. The workflow is systematic, yet flexible enough to accommodate organisation-specific criteria, and usable for other commodities. It provides the platform to build a global REE-HFSE province map and database consistently across national boundaries and organisations. Categories for the extent of province exploration maturity and remaining mineral potential are proposed. We illustrate the applicability of these methods using the Gardar REE-HFSE Province (GRHP) of south Greenland. We conclude that it is a moderate size, frontier province that is currently of questionable favourability for value creation. To move GRHP into a positive favourability class, its current weak links need strengthening by research, government policy and industry stakeholders: evaluate the mineral system; integrate all information geospatially and place it in the public domain; help the region improve some community health and safety issues; convert some mineral resources into an Ore Reserves category; commence mining and sales production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2141-2156
Number of pages16
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Favourability
  • HFSE
  • Province
  • REE
  • Screening
  • Value

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources

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