Greenland is the largest island on Earth, with 80% of its area covered by a thick ice sheet. The coastal areas are underlain by variable rocks ranging from Eoarchean to the most recent ages. Greenland has a mineral exploration tradition since its colonization in the 18th century, and mining of cryolite started in 1854. Since the 1960s, the country is explored systematically for various commodities, which however resulted only in limited mining activity in only a few successful mines. Most exploration has been based on prospecting followed by exploration around the exposed mineralization.
The long and complex geological evolution recorded in Greenland appears to be in contrast with only few examples of successful mineral exploration and mining. Numerous mineral deposits are developed in neighboring Arctic countries, making the remote Arctic setting an unlikely single argument for the situation. Geological knowledge is still relatively basic for many parts of Greenland and modern geophysical and geochemical data is often only available at a regional scale, which makes knowledge- and mineral system-driven exploration difficult and costly.
The review of the Greenlandic metallogeny in this paper, however, clearly shows the enormous potential for finding ores in a wide variety of settings.
Metallogeny of Greenland. Ore Geology Reviews 78 (2016), p. 493-555. By Jochen Kolb, Jakob K. Keiding, Agnete Steenfelt, Karsten Secher, Nynke Keulen, Diogo Rosa, Bo M. Stensgaard.
Open access to the article until July 7, 2016 through this link:
Research professor Jochen Kolb, GEUS
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