Bluejay Mining (LSE: JAY) has expanded its footprint in Greenland, after securing two new mineral exploration licences surrounding its existing Kangerluarsuk zinc-lead-silver project in the island territory’s central west.
The company can now conduct exploration activities across nearly 2,025 sq. km near the southern tip of Greenland. The project, to be named Thunderstone, is described as being “highly prospective” for several commodities including gold, base metals and uranium.
Since Bluejay applied for the granted licences, there has been an “explosion” in permit submissions in south Greenland, with a further 6,240 sq. km potentially being taken by other juniors, the company said.
“Bluejay is already very familiar with this region, and our technical team has several decades of combined expertise in the geology of South Greenland,” CEO Roderick McIllree said in a news release. “This is supported by our recent re-analysis of all available historic stream sediment samples by modern analytical techniques.”
The licences will hold no financial commitments for Bluejay, in line with the government’s recent adjustment of mineral exploration obligations for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bluejay plans to move forward with its Dundas ilmenite project, after the governments of Denmark and Greenland acquired stakes in the company last year.
Ilmenite is considered the most important ore of titanium, used commercially in the production of paint, adhesives and personal care products such as toothpaste.
The company is also considering drill campaigns at the nickel-copper-platinum-cobalt project at Disko-Nuussuaq and the lead-zinc-silver Kangerluarsuk deposit.
It aims to produce between 440,000 and 600,000 tonnes of high purity ilmenite by the end of 2021.
Miners have become increasingly interested in Greenland as thawing sea ice, attributed to climate change, opens up shipping routes and exposes mineral riches. The phenomenon, however, has the country’s population divided, with some worried about the loss of traditional lifestyles, while others embrace change.
Warmer weather patterns have been critical to making the project viable, McIllree told the Financial Times in November, as 25 years ago the location would only have been accessible to ships and for only two or three months a year.
Greenland, an autonomous region under the Kingdom of Denmark, is the world’s largest island. The United States has operated an airbase on the northwest coast of the island since 1943.
The region makes its own decisions regarding investments in mineral resource activities, including the granting of licences, and it recently issued more exploration and mining licences in a bid to diversify its economy.
The U.S. government has stepped up efforts to ensure the supply of critical minerals from outside China. As part of those initiatives, it recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Greenland to conduct a hyper-spectral survey to map the country’s geology.
Washington has also gained the support of Australia, which has committed to facilitate potential joint ventures to improve rare earth processing capacity and reduce reliance on Chinese rare earths.
In November, the mineral agencies of both countries signed a research agreement to quantify their reserves of critical minerals.