Billionaire investors flock to Greenland for treasure hunt

81
3
Billionaire investors flock to Greenland for treasure hunt

Nuussuaq, Greenland CNN Some of the world's richest men are funding a massive treasure hunt, complete with helicopters and transmitters, on the west coast of Greenland The climate crisis is melting Greenland down at an unprecedented rate, which is creating an opportunity for investors and mining companies who are looking for a trove of critical minerals that can power the green energy transition.

A band of billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, is betting that there are enough critical minerals to power hundreds of millions of electric vehicles, including the hills and valleys on Greenland's Disko Island and Nuussuaq Peninsula.

Kurt House, CEO of Kobold Metals, told CNN that they are looking for a deposit that will be the first or second largest nickel and cobalt deposit in the world.

The Arctic's disappearing ice on land and in the ocean highlights a unique dichotomy: Greenland is zero for the impacts of climate change, but it could also become ground zero for sourcing the metals needed to power the solution to the crisis.

Thirty geologists, geophysicists, cooks, pilots and mechanics are camped at the site where Kobold and Blujay are searching for the buried treasure. CNN is the first media outlet with a video of the activity happening there.

Crews are looking at soil samples, flying drones and helicopters with transmitters to measure the electromagnetic field of the subsurface and map the layers of rock below. They are using artificial intelligence to analyze the data to pinpoint exactly where to drill as early as next summer.

Bluejay Mining CEO Bo Mller Stensgaard told CNN that it was a concern to see the consequences and impacts of the climate changes in Greenland. Climate changes in Greenland have made exploration and mining easier and more accessible. Stensgaard said that teams are able to ship heavy equipment and ship metals out to the global market because climate change is making ice-free periods in the sea longer.

Melting land ice exposes land that has been buried under ice for centuries to millennia but could now become a potential site for mineral exploration.

As these trends continue well into the future, there is no question more land will be accessible, and some of this land may carry the potential for mineral development, according to Mike Sfraga, chair of the United States Arctic Research Commission.

Greenland could be a hot spot for coal, copper, gold, rare-earth elements and zinc, according to the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. The government of Greenland, according to the agency, has done several resource assessments throughout the ice-free land, and the government recognizes the potential to diversify the national economy through mineral extraction. Sfraga said that the pro-mining stance is not without regard for the environment, which is central to Greenland's culture and livelihood.

The government of Greenland supports the responsible, sustainable and economically viable development of their natural resources to include mining of a broad range of minerals, Sfraga said.

Stensgaard stated that these critical minerals will provide a part of the solution to meet the challenges that the climate crisis presents.

In the meantime, Greenland's vanishing ice which is pushing the sea level higher is a great concern for scientists who study the Arctic.

The big concern for Arctic sea ice is that it's been disappearing over the last several decades it's predicted to disappear in the next 20 to 30 years, Nathan Kurtz, a NASA scientist who studies sea ice, told CNN.com. What used to be Artic ice cover in the fall is now going to be seasonal ice cover.