South Korea’s Electronic Times (전자신문) carried a piece by geologist Sung-Won Park (박성원) two weeks ago where he highlights the need for the country to get involved in untapping Greenland’s mineral resources, specifically due to the island’s “abundant rare-earth deposits”. Hi-tech industries in Korea depend on imports for important REE-based components, says Park, making actively exploring for the elements a necessity for the country. “Among Arctic regions, REE-rich Greenland is where we should be focusing most of our attention.”
Mr Park, a researcher at South Korea’s Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM, 한국지질자원연구원) Mineral Resources Research Division, has been involved in geological research in Greenland for several years. KIGAM and its local counterpart, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) signed an agreement to start joint research in 2012, during then-president Lee Myung-bak’s visit to the island. Talking to Greenland’s state-owned broadcaster KNR in 2013, Park was particularly enthusiastic about the REE potential in Kvanefjeld, one of the areas where the Korean team had been working.
Korea’s national miner KORES has been conducting joint exploration at the Qeqertaasaq REE+Nb project with NunaMinerals, whose prospects are now uncertain with the Greenlandic company still on the verge of bankruptcy.
Eykon Energy, CNOOC’s local partner for their oil and gas license off Iceland, are being offered access to the Mjóeyri harbour, with a fee exemption during the exploration stages of the project, says the mayor of Fjarðabyggð municipality (Vísir). The announcement came after negotiations between Eykon and the municipality, which haven’t yet resulted in a formal agreement.
Mjóeyri harbour (Mjóeyrarhöfn), on the island’s eastern shore, was built for the Alcoa aluminium plant in nearby Reyðarfjörður.
Here’s more on Iceland oil.
A quick update on General Nice (俊安集团), the license holder for the Isua iron mine in Greenland.
Some two weeks ago, the group’s Hong Kong-listed company, Loudong General Nice Resources (樓東俊安), entered a conditional agreement to issue some $50m in convertible bonds to state-owned investment manager China Huarong 华融. That money would help pay for an investment in a Mainland logistics business Loudong GN have been talking about for some time.
Loudong General Nice have had a tough couple of years as their historical core business of Shanxi coal generated considerable losses, but they’ve been trying to diversify away from it and have already managed to get some new Mainland shareholders on board, as I’ve reported recently. Their shares are trading at almost three times what they were worth not two months ago.
General Nice’s HK-listed company is not directly involved in Isua.
Meanwhile in Australia, a troubled General Nice investment is starting to look better. Pluton Resources, the operator of the Cockatoo iron mine off Western Australia, where General Nice own a majority stake, has come out of receivership, where it had landed after a dispute with Chinese partners and creditors. Encouraged by a rebound in iron prices, they are now seeking to finance new activity at Cockatoo and a new project with a $50m bond offering.