update on Jiangxi Copper’s Greenland project

The latest newsletter from the Danish and Greenlandic geological survey (GEUS) informs that the exploration license for Jiangxi Copper’s Wegener Halvø site, near Carlsberg Fjord on Greenland’s eastern coast, has been renewed.

Public information about this project typically doesn’t mention Jiangxi Copper by name. In the present case, the 2007 license is said to have been renewed by China-Nordic Mining Ltd (中國北歐礦業有限公司), a Hong Kong company established in 2011, i.e. four years after getting their Greenland license. The license had originally been awarded to London-based Nordic Mining Ltd, which had no known Chinese participation until one of its directors travelled to China in 2009 in search of potential investors. The project attracted enough attention for an influential government think tank to actively tout it to state-owned companies as relevant to the country’s search for natural resources abroad. The involvement of a large company such as Jiangxi Copper was initially not openly publicised: Chinese press enquiries about the background of Jiangxi Zhongrun, at one time a vehicle of Chinese participation in the Carlsberg project, were rejected as veering into the “extremely sensitive“; an interview request from Greenlandic journalists was refused outright. Jiangxi Copper’s participation, talked about since 2009, was reported by Chinese government sources in 2011, then in Greenland some time later (notably after minister Jens-Erik Kierkegaard‘s visit to Jiangxi last November).

On a month-old Greenland government page, the current license holder for the project, HK-based China-Nordic Mining, appears with a C/O address at Jiangxi Zhongrun in Nanchang, the provincial capital. Little has been made known about this Zhongrun: it has been called a “well-known real estate company”, a “private company”, a “genuine” mining company; at any rate, contact data provided for some of these companies point to Wang Suji 王苏吉, a Jiangxi businessman with various interests which indeed include real estate. Mr Wang has of late become a shareholder in Nordic Mining, the British company originally awarded the license (I wrote about the people behind Nordic Mining in my article on the Carlsberg project last year).