Minerals for Danish industry - economics and supply
In 2015, the Center for Minerals and Materials (MiMa) at GEUS published an analysis of the demand for mineral resources by Danish industry sectors. This is the first analysis ever carried out of the socio-economic significance of mineral resources and of the vulnerability of the sectors to possible scarcity. Danish industry exported goods totalling DKK 250 billion in 2011 and more than 50% of raw materials used by industry are mineral resources extracted through mining activities. The study shows that minerals account for around 16% (around DKK 42 billion) of total exports. With a relatively large consumption of minerals, the metals and machinery sectors have the highest export values compared to raw material consumption. The study also showed that the use of mineral resources in Danish industry contributes about 57,000 jobs, or 20% of total employment in the industries.
On the basis of assessments by the European Commission of the risk of raw materials supply disruption, the analysis estimates that this risk is minimal for Danish industry with regard to iron, aluminium, nickel and copper. Danish industry also produces goods which contain raw materials for which the risk of supply disruption is considerable, such as boron, chromium, magnesium, phosphorous, the platinum-group metals and silicon. Several of these elements are constituents in steel alloys which are in wide use in Danish industry, and steel can therefore be considered as a critical raw material. Finally, the analysis reveals an increased risk of supply disruption for some of the raw materials used in the wind turbine industry, e.g. rare-earth elements (REE)
New Danish mineral resources statistics
Sand and gravel are basic raw materials in modern society. They are primarily used in building and construction works and the demand for these materials is set to grow with increasing population and buying power. Despite the large quantities of these mineral resources available in Denmark, securing their supply in the future poses a great challenge, because extraction activities often have to compete with other land interests. In Denmark, a total of around 32 million m 3 sand, gravel, rock, chalk, clay and salt are extracted annually. In 2015, the Center for Minerals and Materials (MiMa) at GEUS published a new statistical survey of Danish mineral resources which provides an idea of the size and location of mineral resources in Denmark. These are the first complete statistics of mineral resources in the Danish subsurface onshore and in the seabed in Danish waters. The publication is intended to help in efforts to secure sustainable use and future supplies.
The statistics include sand, gravel, rock, granite, clay, expansive clay, diatomite clay, limestone/chalk and salt, and are based on existing geological and geophysical data. The statistics estimate the mineral resources in 98 municipalities and 41 marine areas. Resources have moreover been classified as either measured, indicated or inferred depending on the level of certainty about their individual occurrence. Many of the resources are in areas where extraction is impossible or undesirable, such as urban areas, roads, listed sites, farmland, forestry areas, recreational areas, shallow marine areas and special nature conservation sites.
Greenland's mineral resources
In 2015, GEUS carried out several activities to assess the mineral resources of Greenland. In July, a new perennial project was launched in Karrat Fjord in West Greenland. The objective of the project is to examine the area's base-metal potential, especially zinc. In 2015, the project, which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Mineral Resources and GEUS, included aerial photographs of steep mountain sides to be used in 3D photogeological interpretations as well as surveys of a number of areas where previous surveys have revealed potential mineralisations. Geologists compared and published geological and mineralogical data from South-East Greenland collected in the field in the period from 2012 to 2014. In July and August, there was a minor follow-up project on the ruby potential south-west of Sermilik Fjord and on the island of Kulusuk.
In August, geologists from GEUS and the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) examined designated parts of the Motzfeldt intrusion in South Greenland to find out how mineralisations of niobium, tantalum and rare-earth element metals (REE) formed. This study will continue in 2016. Finally, in November GEUS hosted an international workshop at which a panel of experts from research and industry assessed the titanvanadium potential in Greenland
New EU super consortium to secure Europe's raw materials supply
In 2015, the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) allocated funds for a new Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) on raw materials - EIT Raw Materials. The KIC consortium, which consists of more than 100 leading partners from industry, research and education, has been tasked with securing the future supply of mineral resources in Europe as well as creating growth and jobs. Promoting innovation throughout the mineral resources value chain is one of the items on the consortium's programme, and this will introduce new solutions, products and services for sustainable exploration, extraction, minerals processing, recycling/circular economy and materials substitution.
The KIC consortium is organised in six regional offices with different focus areas, and GEUS is a partner in the Nordic branch, where the primary area of work is mineral exploration, mining operation and minerals processing and refining. The primary competences of GEUS in this value chain are within mineral exploration, material characterisation, risk management and environmental monitoring. Furthermore, GEUS is contributing with competences within value chain analysis and aspects relating to scarcity, vulnerability and sustainability in minerals production and consumption, as well as with its special expertise on Greenland and the Arctic region in general.