Green Tech Future
Greenland is one of the most mineral rich regions in the world and within the last decade Greenland has become a new mining frontier. This is due to the fact that the Greenland Ice Cap is rapidly melting around the edges, exposing new mineral rich mountains. Additionally this effects the melting of the Arctic sea-ice, which means that cargo transportation is becoming much more accessible throughout the year.
Located at the tip of southern Greenland, The Kvanefjeld Mountains are believed to be the world’s second largest source of rare earth metals and minerals. Currently, several international companies are exploring the mining opportunities for these rare earth minerals, which are a critical resource for most of the world's new green-technology and electronic products.
The film explores how Greenland’s government is requiring high standards of extraction, demanding environmentally sustainable extraction methods as a minimum. The Finance Minister of Greenland, Maliina Abel, is interviewed and presents Greenland’s view and strategy on the matter.
Today, China has close to a monopoly on the rare-earth minerals market, accounting for 97% of the global production and 50% of the total global reserves. This has created an unpredictable market and with increasing global demand has meant that prices for some of these technology metals such as those used in magnets and batteries have massively increased in just one year.
So this makes it is even more crucial that Greenland monitors and sets demands for the extraction of rare earth’s in their environment, as these metals are increasingly becoming more and more attractive.
Notes on Rare Earth’s:
In 2010 the EU identified 14 “critical” minerals to be very important to the economy and due to the supply risks attached, 60% of these 14 “critical” minerals only exist in 3 countries; Russia, China and North Korea.
When it comes to rare earth minerals, China sits on 97% of the global production but only exports 25%. Looking at the market’s interest for lithium and rare earths, demand continued to increase in 2010 and 2011. Exploration budgets for these commodities jumped close to four times the amount spent in 2009.
The dependency on raw materials is quite evident. If you look at some rare earth minerals, the prices have raised 10 fold compared to just one and a half years ago. This could be costly to the production of new technology and innovative products such as batteries for hybrid vehicles or magnets for wind turbines, which are crucial to the transition towards a carbon-neutral world.