Korean state resources firm KORES announced on Monday that it has signed a new exploration deal with local authorities in Greenland. Reports said that the agreement comes in cooperation with Greenland-based mining group NunaMinerals.
The two firms said that the deal would pave the way for joint efforts to seek out rare earths and other minerals.
President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea travelled to Greenland to oversee the inking of the deal. The agreement will see no money change hands, according to reports.
The news highlights growing interest from Korea and other powers in Asia to seek out and exploit rare earths. The minerals are crucial to the manufacturing of a number of products, notably electronics, and China currently controls the market by a massive margin.
Experts say that Greenland is home to the largest deposits of rare earths outside of China.
Ole Christiansen, NunaMinerals chief executive, told Reuters reporters following the signing, “We have had a lot of other Asian companies visiting us in the last few years, but this is the first concrete agreement. KORES are trying to secure raw materials for the Korean industrial sector, and they have a list of commodities they want to work on worldwide.”