With all necessary documentation now complete, Greenland Minerals and Energy (ASX:GGG) has scheduled an early-2016 start for the mining licence application process at its Kvanefjeld rare earths-uranium project.
Materials for the application have now been made available to Greenland regulatory bodies to begin a guidance phase designed to ensure compliance and determine which components are to be translated into Danish and Greenlandic as part of a public hearing process.
This process is expected to run smoothly as Greenland Minerals has specifically designed Kvanefjeld to meet the requirements of the government of Greenland.
Treatment and abatement have been applied to all emissions to meet Greenland and European standards.
The design of tailings dams has carefully considered what is best for the local environment while preserving opportunities to extract further value from the tailings.
Indeed, an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment has been completed and incorporated into the mining licence application materials, offering the culmination of several years' worth of studying the natural environment around the project area, technical studies and public consultation.
Other materials readied to advance the project into a mine permitting phase next year include the outcomes of the Feasibility Study, which outlined a 37-year mine life for an operation with a low strip ratio and a maiden ore reserve of 108 million tonnes at 362 parts per million uranium, 2,600 parts per million zinc and 14,300 parts per million total rare earth oxides.
Permitting and potential
Greenland Minerals' graduation to the permitting phase was symbolically achieved with government approval last week for Kvanefjeld's public pre-hearing white paper and terms of reference.
This milestone made the proposed mine the first project in the country to go through this public input and awareness process.
The terms of reference set the agreed initial development strategy for Kvanefjeld, which includes in-country processing to produce a critical rare earth product, uranium oxide, zinc concentrate, lanthanum, fluorspar and cerium by-products.
Recent testwork at the site has confirmed a 95% production rate of rare earth extraction, comfortably exceeding feasibility study design assumptions of 77%.
Uranium extraction results have been in line with feasibility assumptions at a solid 85%.
Kvanefjeld is believed to have potential to be amongst the industry's lowest-cost producers (after by-product costs) with the current life-of-mine plan based on only 10% of the overall resource base.
The overall resource inventory totals 1.01 billion tonnes containing 593 million pounds U3O8, 11.14 million tonnes TREO and 2.25 million tonnes zinc.
This TREO content includes 370,000 tonnes heavy REO and 840,000 tonnes yttrium oxide.
Scheduling for Kvanefjeld's mining licence application early next year sets up a highly prospective, near-term price catalyst for Greenland Minerals stock, especially considering the exhaustive detail considered in the preparatory documentation.
The recent government approval for Kvanefjeld's public pre-hearing white paper and terms of reference bodes well for the pending mining licence application since this clearance implies both government support and company meticulousness in project design.
Importantly, traction on this front highlights Greenland Minerals' progress in earning a critical "social licence", which represents local community approval and will be a major consideration in the mining licence process.
Recent improvements achieved on feasibility assumptions, meanwhile, have demonstrated that conservative metrics have been applied to Kvanefjeld, suggesting further project upside may result as more advanced developments take shape.
Future upside in this regard may be provided by upcoming analysis of a 25-kilogram sample of mixed rare earth carbonate produced as part of the latest testwork.
Proactive Investors Australia is the market leader in producing news, articles and research reports on ASX emerging companies with distribution in Australia, UK, North America and Hong Kong / China.