Briefing

Greenland’s opposition party victory puts rare-earth mine project in jeopardy

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The country’s incoming Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) government has opposed plans for the massive Kvanefjeld mine, which would extract rare-earth metals needed to build products like cellphones, wind turbines, electric vehicles and fighter jets. The IA has cited concerns about the environmental impact of mining and processing the materials. (The Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Access to rare-earth metals is increasingly important for countries to build technology, clean energy sources and for national security. China has the largest rare-earth reserves in the world, and Canada and its Western allies depend deeply on the country for their supply of these elements. The Kvanefjeld mine was touted as an alternative source of rare earths for countries looking to reduce their reliance on China. (Even if Kvanefjeld does go forward, a Chinese company with close ties to Beijing owns 10 per cent of the company leading the project). Canada has substantial rare-earth reserves of its own, but nowhere to process them yet. The country’s first processing facility is being built in Saskatchewan, which could boost Canada’s role in a supply chain less beholden to China.