Review of the critical raw material resource potential in Greenland

Research output: Book/ReportReport (publicly available)

Abstract

Critical Raw Materials (CRMs), which are materials that both have a large economic importance to the industry and whose supply has a high risk of disruption, are essential to the society as they are the building blocks for our green and digital economy. Many factors influence the supply risk but, in many cases, it is related to monopolism in the up-stream part of the supply chain. Improving know-how related to mineral resource potential is thus one of the keys to overcome criticality.

This review presents the Greenlandic mineral resource potential of CRM, focusing on the raw materials labelled as critical by the European Commission in 2023 (European Commission 2023a), as well as some considered as potentially critical.

The Greenland ice-free zone covers approximately 0.4 million km2, hosting complex geological terranes, that represent almost four billion years of geological history, extending the spectrum from Archaean to recent processes. This makes Greenland favourable for finding and exploiting a range of mineral resources, including some of the critical and potentially critical minerals.

This review confirms that Greenlandic occurrences host critical minerals, provides known resources of these, and presents brief descriptions of the geology, exploration history/reports as well as the tracts with favourable permissive geological settings that potentially could host mineral occurrences.

The review specifically reveals that the Gardar province in South Greenland constitutes an exceptional accumulation of CRM. This is documented by the known rare earth element (REE) deposits, some also hosting very significant lithium, fluorite, tantalum, niobium, hafnium and/or zirconium resources, namely the very large deposits of the Ilímaussaq (Kvanefjeld/Kuannersuit, Kringlerne/Killavaat Alannguat, Sørensen, Zone 3) and Motzfeldt. East Greenland stands out by hosting the very large Malmbjerg molybdenum deposit, the very large Karstryggen strontium deposit, and the large platinum group metals (PGMs), titanium and vanadium Skaergaard deposit. Additionally, and due to its relatively underexplored status, East Greenland can be considered to still hold a significant potential for yet undiscovered deposits of these commodities. Furthermore, this area also holds a significant, but relatively underexplored, potential for intrusion related tungsten, tin, and antimony, and for sedimentary copper. Carbonatites and anorthosites in southern West Greenland hold a potential for phosphorus and REE or feldspar, documented by the large Sarfartoq deposit and the large Qaqortorsuaq/White Mountain and the Majoqqap Qaava deposits, respectively. The Palaeoproterozoic terranes in West, South and East Greenland, have a potential for hosting undiscovered deposits of graphite, exemplified by the large Amitsoq deposit in South Greenland. The Thule black sands province, in North-West Greenland, holds a significant titanium endowment. Finally, the Palaeozoic Franklinian Basin of North Greenland has a very significant potential for zinc and lead deposits, from which germanium and gallium can be possible by-products.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherGEUS
Number of pages121
Volume2023
ISBN (Print)978-8-77871-586-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2023

Publication series

SeriesMiMa rapport
Number1
Volume2023

Keywords

  • Greenland
  • MiMa

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources

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