Greenland, with a population of around 57,000 and a population density of a mere one person for each 15 square miles, is undergoing a political transformation in the lead-up to its imminent independence from Denmark, and as of January 2010, it will become the full owner of its natural resources. Accordingly, the rare earths alone could double Greenland's GPD since there are enough of them to sate one quarter of the world's hunger for them for the next 50 years.
As a further benefit of the site, the cost of extracting the rare earths will be partly covered by the lucrative extraction uranium there. This will shield against China undercutting the Greenland rare earth production by flooding the market with cheaper metals, which is how it has managed to establish dominance in the world market in terms of rare earth provision, to date.
The Ilimaussaq Intrusion is well-established as a source if uranium, but its novel exploitation as a source of rare earths is pivotal on the world geopolitical stage. To the chagrin of Japan, which intends to become a major player in electric car production, Chinese control of the amount of rare earth metals available to the marketplace has engendered a scramble by Toyota and major Japanese trading houses to ensure sufficient supplies of them from elsewhere. Indeed, the Japanese wish to establish a strategic national reserve of rare earths to meet demand from both "green" and military technologies, e.g. hybrid cars and weapons-guiding systems.
Through a massive increase in the global supply of rare earth metals within a regulated market with global price-controls, their use would naturally increase. Michael Hutchinson, a director of the London Metal Exchange and the non-executive chairman of Greenland Minerals said: "Rare earths could, therefore, undergo the same transformation as aluminium, with the same scene-changing effects. A century ago aluminium was so valuable a metal that Queen Victoria sported a ring made of it. When supply became cheaper and steadier, it fundamentally altered the way in which aircraft, cars and other technologies were built."
I wonder what other minerals including oil may be exhumed from the earth under melting Greenland, and for how much longer will the melting Antarctic remain sacrosanct?
"Greenland challenge to Chinese over rare earth metals," By Leo Lewis. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article6860901.ece