China Nonferrous enters Greenland rare-earth game

Greenland Minerals and Energy (GMEL) has just signed a non-binding MoU with a unit of China Nonferrous (中色) for its Kvanefjeld uranium-rare earth project in southern Greenland. The project is still at the feasibility study stage.

China Nonferrous was already active in Greenland, with an agreement signed in mid 2013 with Ironbark to cooperate in the development of the Citronen zinc project, in the island’s far North.

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Sichuan Road & Bridge in Tanzania

This isn’t particularly recent, but I thought today would be as good a slow news day as any to mention a contract won late last year by Sichuan Road and Bridge Group (SRBG, 四川路桥集团) to build 65km of roads in Tanzania. A number of such contracts, mostly funded by the African Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, have been awarded to Chinese companies in Tanzania, first in November and then again in February. Other than SRBG, the contractors include CHICO (中国河南国际合作集团), Powerchina (中国水电建设集团) and CCECC (中国土木工程集团). SRBG’s task will be to pave a road leading up to the (also Chinese-built) Unity Bridge over the Rovuma River, the border with Mozambique.

This was SRBG’s main foreign contract abroad last year, other than the steelwork for the Hålogaland bridge in Narvik, northern Norway.

Icelandic environmentalists against Jan Mayen oil

It’s not time for Iceland to “bet on oil”, as they seem to be doing after granting three oil licenses for the Drekasvæði (Icelandic Jan Mayen area), where “there are few indications” that production will be profitable, says Árni Finnsson of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (Náttúruverndarsamtök Íslands) to AFP. Árni’s and other local environmental organisations had shown their opposition to Jan Mayen exploration earlier, for example with a demonstration just after Chinese major CNOOC got the third of the licenses some six weeks ago.

Eykon Energy, CNOOC’s local partner in the Jan Mayen license, would surely differ with Árni’s assessment of the prospects for oil exploration in the area. They’ve been talking about reserves of up to 1bn barrels of oil equivalent, some twenty times what the Norwegian petroleum directorate estimates is to be found down there.