Earlier this month, Greenland announced that it had revoked a Chinese mining firm of its rights to an iron ore mine near Nuuk, striking a significant setback to Chinese efforts to establish a presence on the resource-rich Arctic island.
When former owner London Mining went bankrupt, the Isua mining project was taken over by General Nice, Chinese coal and iron ore importer. General Nice acquired ownership of the project in 2015, replacing London Mining. As the first Chinese company to get permission to explore minerals in Greenland, it has piqued worldwide attention as climate change has opened up rivers and increased access to the immense mineral riches of the Arctic island. According to a government statement, the license was revoked due to a lack of activity at the location, which also said that the permit would be made available to other interested parties once it had been properly returned.
According to the corporation, it also failed to make the agreed-upon guarantee payments.
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We cannot tolerate if a licensee fails to achieve agreed-upon dates consistently, said Naaja Nathanielsen, Greenland’s Minister for Natural Resources. The government has ordered that all geological data be returned, that the overdue payments of 1.5 million Danish crowns be paid, and that the mining area be cleaned entirely to this end. London Mining, which got the exploitation license in 2013 to employ around 2,000 Chinese employees to develop the project and supply China with approximately 15 million metric tonnes of iron ore per year, revised its plans in 2015.
However, it was unable to get enough funding.
The administration of Greenland, which was elected in April, has said that it favors ecologically responsible mining. A prohibition on uranium mining was enacted this year, thus preventing the growth of the Kuannersuit mine, one of the world’s most extensive rare earth resources and is partially controlled by a Chinese corporation. General Nice also sought to purchase an abandoned naval base in Greenland from Denmark in 2016. Still, according to sources who spoke to Reuters at the time of the effort, Copenhagen rejected the deal because of security concerns.
An offer to fund and construct two airports in Greenland made by the Chinese government and state-owned construction business was rejected by the government of Greenland in 2018.