Black Angel Lead and Zinc Mine

“For me, I wouldn’t mind if the whole ice cap disappears,” said Ole Christiansen, the chief executive of NunamMinerals, Greenland’s largest homegrown mining company, as he picked his way along a proposed gold mining site up the fjord from Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. “As it melts, we’re seeing new places with very attractive geology.”

The Black Angel lead and zinc mine, which closed in 1990, is applying to reopen this year, said Jorgen T. Hammeken-Holm, who oversees licensing at the country’s mining bureau, “because the ice is in retreat and you’re getting much more to explore.”

“This is huge; we could be mining this for the next 100 years,” said Eric Sondergaard, a geologist with the Australian-owned company Greenland Minerals and Energy, who was on the outskirts of Narsaq one day recently, picking at rocks on a moon-like plateau rich with an estimated 10.5 million tons of rare earth ore.

“If we don’t get this mine,” he said, “Narsaq will just get smaller and smaller.”

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