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(A) RSCU value of AU ending codons and ENc of 13 concatenated PCGs. Contour map phylogeny shows the estimated evolutionary history of codon usage, and corresponding variation of ENc produced via contMap function in the R package Phytools. Note that the Tachinidae clade has evolved a AT content that is higher than the rest of the ingroup that is reflected in ENc. (B) and (C) Principal components analysis of RSCU across the Oestroidea. The Tachinidae groups are distinguishable from rest of the Oestroidea insects.
Greenland has a long mining and mineral exploration history and offers interesting possibilities for investors. There is still optimism in the mineral business, but successful examples are surprisingly few in the new millennium. Based on numerous new tables compiling information on companies, periods, targets, licenses, and costs, this paper gives a description of the past and present activities, the exploration companies involved, their main targets, their limited financial power, and their continued need for and search of investors and large industrial partners. An analysis of the key drivers at different levels is presented: analogues with Canada and elsewhere, dedicated prospectors looking for profit, specific strategic projects, commodity prices, new research results, co-financing, strategies, and regulations by authorities in Greenland and Denmark. Changes in political agenda in Greenland, Denmark, and internationally have had a strong influence on exploration activities in Greenland compared to other countries with an exploration industry, in some cases creating good incentives for investors, in other cases being showstoppers for future exploration and mining. This paper provides, for the first time ever, a summary of the total costs for mineral exploration in Greenland and the total revenue for the governments, and compares these numbers with the public investments in research, data acquisition, and direct investments in national companies.
Greenland is a large country with an area of more than 2 million square kilometers. Although most of Greenland is covered by the Inland Ice, the ice-free part along the coasts comprises more than 400.000 km2; this is much larger than most European countries, slightly smaller than Sweden, and slightly larger than Norway and Germany. With a complex and several billion years old geological history, Greenland offers interesting possibilities for exploitation of many different commodities in a variety of geological terrains. Despite optimism and policy-driven marketing and hype in the Greenland society in the new millennium, successful examples are, however, few, but why? To answer this question, an analysis of the historical and ongoing mineral exploration focuses on description and analysis of drivers at many different levels, ranging from simple profit for owners and shareholders to specific political agendas with focus on strategically important resources, beginning with cryolite, followed by uranium, and more recently rare earth elements (REE) together with other specialty metals (see definitions in Table 1).
The present paper systematically reviews the mining and exploration history of Greenland with a compilation of all historical information of licenses. Focus is on drivers and the many different companies that have been involved over time and their total investments. Large international companies have been active from time to time, but Greenland has had long periods without any active mining, and numerous companies have been established and closed again and have been in Greenland for a few years, whereupon they preferred to explore in other countries. In later decades, mineral exploration in Greenland has been driven by a large number of so-called junior mineral companies. They all have a restricted financial base, and they are always looking for investors. The philosophy is to get a good idea or take over a project, raise money for new exploration, develop the prospect to be more interesting, raise more money for additional exploration, and if being so lucky that significant additional reserves can be demonstrated or that commodity prices raise significantly within the time of licensing, eventually sell to larger companies that have the financial and operational power to initiate the actual mining activity.
Simplified geological map of Greenland showing basement terrains and sedimentary basins (from Henriksen 2008). Red stars indicate position of mines listed in Table 2; green stars large projects listed in Table 3
The mining history of Greenland is summarized in Table 2. It is remarkable that mining has been for so many different commodities, not only metals, and that each mine has been operated by a different company. In addition to these year-long mines, Greenland has also experienced several minor and short-lived activities including test mining, such as Cu and Ag mines in South Greenland, small Cg mines or quarries in South and West Greenland, and several small coal mines and marble quarries in West Greenland (Secher 2004, 2008; Sejersen 2015).
In the analysis and presentation of the mineral exploration history and the drivers behind, it was quite natural to make a division into some specific eras defined by distinct differences in political systems, corporate structures, public versus private investments, the different drivers of the exploration, and how the eras ended.
In 1970s, there was strong focus on environmental politics in Denmark with new laws and regulations. Previously, Greenland mining activities had been more or less environmentally unregulated (e.g. Iviituut and Mesters Vig). At Maarmorilik, there was the first real clash between companies and environmentalist/local hunters. This led to more inspection and environmental studies, especially on tailings and Pb pollution of organisms in the nearby fiord. This set a new norm for environmental regulation in Greenland.
In addition to Platinova, many other companies from the so-called Five Eyes, the English-speaking countries UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA, have started exploration in Greenland within the last decades (see recent review by Menezes 2021). Historically, there have been surprisingly few US investments apart from AMAX, Marcona, and a couple of junior companies many decades back. Exploration activities have been by both large mining companies such as de Beers, Falconbridge, North American Nickel, BHP, Glencore (Table 4), and by many junior companies. The junior companies active in Greenland, and many of the involved key persons, often have a background from an exploration environment in western Australia (mainly headquartered in Perth), in Canada (mainly headquartered in Toronto or Vancouver), and more recently with broader international exploration background with headquarters close to potential investors in London. Some junior companies are private, but many of these junior companies are listed on stock markets in London, Toronto or in Sydney.
Throughout the full history of the Joint Committee from 1980 to 2010, there was a high degree of consensus between the Danish and Greenlandic politicians (no voting ever). This created a good and long-lasting network between politicians from Greenland and Denmark. Many former Danish politicians have appreciated this period as an example of good collaboration between the countries and satisfaction about well-prepared memos for every single exploration and exploitation application (Christian Mejdahl, personal communication, July 2021; Kim Andersen, personal communication, July 2021; Frank Jensen, personal communication, August 2021; Poul Nielson, personal communication, August 2021). In general, Greenlandic politicians and administrators share this viewpoint, although they had more focus on environment and capacity-building than their Danish counterparts (Lars Emil Johansen, personal communication, September 2021). Already from the beginning of the 1990s, the Greenlandic politicians had a strong focus on taking over the full administration and building up exploration and service companies in Greenland, and they put pressure on the Mineral Resources Administration in Denmark to develop new strategies, support more activities, and allocate more money for specific projects.
It is complicated to calculate the investment in general mapping and research of relevance for mineral occurrences in Greenland. This main reason is that relevance is difficult to define in detail, that activities took place over a long period, and that the research in addition to GGU/GEUS activities involves lots of field work participation and subsequent research by Danish and international universities, either in collaboration with GGU or on their own. Especially in the early history of GGU, numerous university affiliated geologists participated in field work and studied sample material subsequently.
The exploration history is important in this context, both due to previous successes and failures. Greenland has indeed had some periods with successful mining and exploration but also periods with low activities and lack of serious investments (Fig. 3). The geology, the climatic conditions, and the long distances to markets cannot be changed, but the understanding of these important issues can be improved greatly. What is important in Greenland is further exploration in areas with simple logistics close to natural harbors with year-around access by large vessels, local energy, and communication systems, but based on expected increasing political pressure with some distance from towns and settlements. Maybe the best way to handle these conflicts of interest is to have well-defined zones with a dedicated fast-track administration by changing the present zoning system (Rasmussen and Gjertsen 2018). Sustainable transport may be a critical issue in the future with increasing focus on CO2 emissions and transport. It is not likely that bulk transport of large loads of rather unexpensive cargo such as raw materials for construction can be made from Greenland in neither an economical nor a sustainable way (Kalvig and Keiding 2020). High-grade primary ore or high-grade concentrate after local crushing and separation is a necessity to make projects economical feasible. 041b061a72