The U.S. President, Donald Trump, has reportedly suggested the purchase of Greenland from the Danish Government, but if that’s correct he’ll find that China has staked out a claim already, and in a commodity the U.S. needs, rare earths.
China’s interest in Greenland can be found through an Australian company of the same name, Greenland Minerals, which has Shenghe Resources Holdings as its largest shareholder with a 11% stake.
Shenghe is a leading producer of rare earths in China and has acquired its stake in Greenland Minerals as a future potential source of the elements which find their way into multiple technologies, especially electric motors, as well as certain military applications such as rocket guidance systems.
The Australian company invited Shenghe to invest after it struggled to generate significant support in its home base or in Europe or North America, partly because the original plan for Greenland Mineral’s Kvanefjeld project was as a source of uranium.
China’s dominance of the industry, and threats to impose restrictions on exports to the U.S. has made rare earths a hot topic in the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries.
But, as Greenland Minerals has been trying to find a way to develop its project it also conducted two important meetings that could have been a trigger for the reports that President Trump has suggested buying the island from Denmark.