ASX-listed Eclipse Metals Ltd has announced that it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which it will acquire the Ivittuut Project in Greenland and associated mining information in relation to the Project tenement. The Ivittuut Project (sometimes called Ivigtut) is known as the world’s largest and only cryolite mine from which cryolite was historically produced for use in the extraction of aluminium from bauxite (alumina) ore.
Cryolite is Na3AlF6, or sodium hexafluoroaluminate. The cryolite deposit is divided into siderite-cryolite, pure cryolite, fluorite-cryolite and a fluorite-topaz unit, located above a large siderite and quartz rich unit. Cryolite is primarily used as a flux in the smelting and electrolytic production of aluminium. Synthetic cryolite is generally manufactured from aluminium oxide, sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid or their equivalent reagent — hexafluorosilicic acid.
Although it is used in a relatively small amount, cryolite plays a crucial role in aluminium production. Up until 1987, when operations ceased, exploration included approximately 19,000 m of diamond drilling, the core from which is currently stored in a Greenland government facility, available for logging and sampling.
Production of 3.8 Mt of cryolite has been recorded by the Greenland Geology Survey Department (this is not a resource or reserve estimate equivalent). Although cryolite has been found in other places, Ivittuut is the only place where this mineral has been commercially extracted. In addition to cryolite the mine workings contain associated minerals including fluorite, siderite, quartz (high purity silica), REEs and base metals.
Ivittuut is located near Cape Desolation in southwestern Greenland. Ivittuut today is a small tourist town with remains of a land backed wharf used previously for the export of cryolite. The town has a power station with fuel supplies to service this station and local traffic and to support mineral exploration. About 5.5 km to the northeast of Ivittuut, the twin settlements of Kangilinnguit and Gronnedal, respectively provide a heliport and an active wharf with infrastructure.
Eclipse Metals Ltd Executive Chairman Carl Popal commented:“This transformational 100% acquisition has multi-facet commercial potential for Eclipse. Ivittuut is unique in so many ways; not only as the world’s only cryolite mine with huge potential for multi-commodity deposits next to a historical port but also as a source of highly sought after heavy rare earth minerals. This is a global leap forward for the company to expand its interests with unique opportunities in the green energy metals and minerals sector. EPM is now well positioned not only to deliver increasing value for our shareholders by being able to achieve cost effective results from assay of the 19,000 m of drill core presently in storage but also delineating short term opportunities in the highly sought after REE sector. In the short run, having substantial high purity quartz (silica) still within the pit area puts the company in a position to potentially be a near term supplier to the electronic, solar, optical and silicon metal industry. High purity quartz is a highly sought after industrial mineral.”
He adds: “Furthermore, the large tenement area covers Greenland’s only known carbonatite depositin close proximity to Gronnedal port. This deposit could provide an ideal product for neutralising acid mine and process water produced by other miners in the Greenlandic region. This fits well with the company’s mission to excel in the commercialisation of metals and minerals demanded in the production of green energy and required by the industry in the reduction of pollutants. We have expanded the company’s technical team and we are looking forward to working on exploration programs that will deliver results not only on Ivittuut but also on our existing Australian portfolio of uranium,gold, palladium, vanadium and manganese prospects.”
The company says it is poised to commence work on this world class unique opportunity with a vision of developing producing mines on the project tenement. The company’s technical team is working on the data to schedule an exploration programme for 2021 which will be announced to the market in due course.