Greenland minister visits Jiangxi Copper

Jens-Erik Kierkegaard, Greenland’s minister of industry and minerals, met with Jiangxi Copper officials in Nanchang during a week-long China tour. He showered praise on the “effective and high technological level” he saw in the mines and smelting plants he visited in Jiangxi, of relevance to him because Jiangxi Copper has been involved in an exploration project near Carlsberg Fjord, eastern Greenland, since possibly 2009, the first by a Chinese company.

As it happens, Jiangxi Copper’s involvement in the Greenland project was not exactly eagerly publicised, until relatively recently. Although talk about getting Jiangxi Copper on board was already going on in Chinese policy circles as early as 2009, Chinese participation in the project initially came through a mysterious company called Jiangxi Zhongrun. Its background was described to Chinese media as an “extremely sensitive” topic. To Greenlandic media, interviews were simply refused. Jiangxi Copper’s participation eventually became publicly known, though largely unreported outside of China, as a company name mix-up continues to plague English and Danish-language sources to this day. An article of mine tells about Jiangxi Copper’s Greenlandic adventure in some detail.

From Nanchang, Mr Kierkegaard went up to Tianjin, where he met his Chinese counterpart and sought to attract investors at a mining fair. He found some interest, but no concrete agreements. Specifically, a Chinese financer is being sought for another major project, the Isua iron mine, for which an exploitation permit has just been awarded to UK-based London Mining. There had been talks with potential Chinese financial backers in 2011 and 2012, but they didn’t go very far and likely fell through after plans to import Chinese labour led to enough controversy to topple the government of the time.

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