09/04/2008 - 22:00

Local miners lured to Arctic north

09/04/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Two Western Australian mining companies have warmed to the idea of heading to the Arctic north, with Greenland becoming the main focus for Ironbark Gold Ltd and Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd.

Two Western Australian mining companies have warmed to the idea of heading to the Arctic north, with Greenland becoming the main focus for Ironbark Gold Ltd and Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd.

The autonomous Danish territory, which has a population of just more than 56,000, has become the centre of attention for Subiaco-based Ironbark, with drilling to begin on its Citronen Fjord zinc project this month and a pre-feasibility study scheduled for the second half of 2008.

One diamond drilling rig is already on site, with a further two en route from Canada, while an additional 290 tonnes of equipment is currently being transported over 18 trips by a C-130 Hercules aircraft.

The lack of roads and the long distances means Ironbark is reliant on using Hercules aircraft to reach the remote project site, but managing director Jonathan Downes says this presents few problems.

“Surprisingly, this is not such a big deal. We have several groups involved in monitoring this process, as well as a team of staff and contractors who have relevant experience,” he said.

“It does, however, cost more than driving out of Kalgoorlie but we think the prize is well worth the effort.”

The 100 per cent-owned Citronen project, located to the north of Greenland on the edge of deep water, has been recently upgraded to a 72.5 million tonne resource, with 4.2 per cent zinc and 0.5 per cent lead grading.

While Greenland gained limited rule from Denmark in 1979, it is still governed jointly by the Greenlandic and Danish governments.

However, with the world’s largest island looking toward independence in the future, Ironbark recognises the importance of foreign investment to the region.

“Greenland is seeking to move towards independence from Denmark and recognises that mineral and oil development is the most likely means to support this move. Greenland is actively seeking foreign investment”, Mr Downes said. “Greenland recognises that Ironbark’s project is valued at nearly 10 billion dollars, and is very significant, so we are seeing strong local support.”

Greenland Minerals and Energy also has holdings on the island, holding two exploration leases at the Kuanfield project, which is located in the south-west tip of Greenland,

The project covers more than 82 square kilometres, making it one of the world’s largest undeveloped multi-mineral sites.

Mainly concerned with the mining of uranium, Greenland Minerals also aims to mine sodium fluoride and rare earth oxides from the site.

Nearly 85 per cent of Greenland is covered in ice, with some areas experiencing a period of 24-hour daylight from mid May to late July. Due to these conditions, teams in the area will be working around the clock, giving companies such as Ironbark and Greenland Minerals a unique opportunity through the summer months.

“We constructed a new 40-man camp site last year and the team is on site now getting ready for a new drilling campaign,” Mr Downes said.

“We expect to have the drill rigs operating 24 hours a day on 12-hour shifts. People just have to learn to sleep in daylight.’’

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options