Outokumpu & Greenland: Molybdenum sustainability partnership

Photo: Malmbjerg molybdenum deposit in east Greenland outcrops as per lighter staining and is one of the cleanest of its kind with the highest grade molybdenum and low footprint.
Major players in stainless steel & molybdenum have signed a Letter of Intent to promote greater supply chain stability & protect from pricing fluctuations

Focusing on Greenland, a stable western country with enormous untapped resources of critical minerals makes more and more sense as political uncertainty and dwindling resources push prices up and destabilise supply chains.

Thus, Finnish stainless steel giant Outokumpu has signed a letter of intent with Canadian mining firm Greenland Resources Inc. The partnership aims to secure a long-term supply of high-quality, low-emission molybdenum, a critical raw material in stainless steel production. Molybdenum improves the corrosion resistance of stainless steel and is sometimes referred to as acid proof.

Integrating value chains and the benefits of sustainability 

Outokumpu, a global leader in sustainable stainless steel, has been actively seeking to integrate its value chain with western suppliers of molybdenum. The letter of intent with Greenland Resources is a crucial step in this direction. Greenland Resources is in the advanced stages of developing the Malmbjerg molybdenum project in east Greenland and has recently completed a definitive feasibility study. The company is also in talks to secure capital expenditure funding to build the mine.

The Malmbjerg deposit is unique in its high-grade molybdenum and low environmental footprint. It has the potential to supply around 25% of Europe's molybdenum needs. Notably, Europe is the second-largest consumer of molybdenum globally but has no domestic production. The project has garnered support from EIT RawMaterials, a Knowledge and Innovation Community of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) , and the European Raw Material Alliance (ERMA). Both are bodies of the European Union.

Marc-Simon Schaar, Chief Procurement Officer at Outokumpu, is enthusiastic about the collaboration. "The carbon footprint of Outokumpu's stainless steel is already the lowest in the industry. Long-term cooperation with Greenland Resources could provide us with a stable supply of molybdenum and protect us from volatile market pricing and supply," he said.

One of the standout features of the Malmbjerg project is its low environmental impact. The mine employs a modularised infrastructure, has low CO2 emissions, and minimises aquatic disturbance. Outstandingly, the transport of 35,000 tonnes of ore per day will utilise a gravity-based aerial rope conveyor that requires no energy, therefore causing no carbon emissions and even generating electricity from braking.

Greenland Resources Chairman Dr Ruben Shiffman spoke of the high ESG standards of the project: "Outokumpu will be able to source a long-term reliable supply of molybdenum oxide and carbon-free briquettes, know from where every single pound of molybdenum is being extracted, and can follow the high ESG standards over the 20-year mine life," he said.

The partnership also aligns with the EU's circular economy goals, as the extraction, processing, and steel production will all be carried out within the EU. A significant part of the mining equipment, team, and funding will also be sourced from the EU.

This collaboration between Outokumpu and Greenland Resources not only strengthens the supply chain but also sets a new standard in sustainable mining practices. It's a win-win for both companies and a positive step for an industry increasingly focused on balancing shareholder value with environmental responsibility.

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