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.