The black sand


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Orbicon offers engineering consulting services in the areas of environment, utilities and building design. With 150 years of experience, we ‘know how’.

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By Orbicon, July 18, 2018

In northern Greenland close to Qaarnaaq, the beaches are full of heavy, black sand. The sand is rich in titanium, which has caused an interest from the British mine company Bluejay Mining in extracting the titanium.

The sand is located on land as well as in low water on the coast. Therefore, it is essential to investigate if the mining disturbs fauna and flora on land as well as if it affects the walruses, white whales and narwhales that stay on land along the coast.

Field investigation
In 2016, biologists from Orbicon started three years of intensive biological investigations in the area. In the summer of 2017, they mapped different types of vegetation using a drone, and they took sea bed samples in order to investigate what mussels were living in the ocean.

“We have large number of plan counts of walruses and whales as well in order to collect detailed knowledge about where they stay at different times of the year. Furthermore, we have facilitated briefings and public hearings of the presentation for the environment consequence rapport in the closest town, Qaarnaaq, 80 kilometers from the license area,” says senior consultant in Orbicon, Flemming Pagh Jensen

The field investigations ends in the autumn of 2018, and the environment consequence rapport is expected to be done in the end of the year.

“The titanium-containing sand has a black colour with a metallic shine, but is paradoxically used to produce white paint that almost everyone needs at some point,” Flemming Pagh Jensen explains. The sand contains one of the highest concentrations of titanium among well-known deposits and it is easily accessible. The only challenge is that the beach is very remote and it is only possible to extract the titanium a couple of months a year.

EIA for mining companies and greenlandic authorities
A long line of mining companies from especially Australia, Great Britain, and Canada has the last few years worked on preliminary investigations in order to clarify if it is possible and economically profitable to start mining in Greenland.

For more than ten years, experts from Orbicon has assisted the mining companies with field investigations and counseling. This is due to the Greenlandic authorities’ demand for an environment consequence rapport before a mining start up in order to clarify how such a mining project will affect nature and the environment.

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