Administrerende direktør i True North Gems, Nicholas Houghton, (t.h.) sammen med den lokale sjefen i TNGG, Bent Olsvig Jensen, fotografert i gruveområdet ved  Aappaluttoq, Grønland. Nå mangler de omlag 80 millioner for å kunne fortsette. (Foto: TNG).
True North Gems President and CEO, Nicholas Houghton (right), with Bent Olsvig Jensen, Managing Director, Greenland on site in Aappaluttoq, Greenland. (Photo by TNG).

« It’s no love affair, it’s business first»

 

-I think LNS has done a great job in this remote area of Greenland, but it’s not a love affair we’re in, it’s a business relation”, says Director, President and CEO Nicholas Houghton in TNG.

There have been minor delays building the infrastructure and the facilities around the mining project in Aappaluttoq, Southwest Greenland, where TNG (True North Gems) and their Norwegian partner LNS (Leonhard Nilsen & sons) are mining rubies and sapphires.

An estimate is an estimate

-But, says CEO Nicholas Houghton to High North News, -there are no discrepancies or disagreements between us. As business partners, we of course discuss different matters. When it comes to estimating times for building all the needed facilities, it is actually just that: An estimate.

It is no different than when you deliver your car to a garage, they will estimate the time necessary to fix it. Taking the conditions and the weather this winter, into consideration, I really think LNS has done a great job. They have proved that they are skilled and experienced in these kinds of conditions, Houghton says.

 

Building brand new infrastructure in Greenland is a challenge. (Photo by TNG).

Building brand new infrastructure in Greenland is a challenge. (Photo by TNG).

LNS confirms delays

LNS-Spitzbergen’s chair of the board, Norwegian Bjørnar Olsen, confirms that there has been delays during this last winter, quoting: -Developing and building brand new infrastructure and all new facilities has been a little slower than we estimated.

Mr. Olsen mentions the building of a new shipping terminal, roads, living quarters, social zones etc., work that started from absolutely zero, has been challenging, but that it is now all coming together, nice and steady.

-I do not see any big obstacles at the time being, Olsen says to HNN.

We are not in a love affair

Nicholas Houghton confirms that picture.

-Our cooperation with LNS is quite good. Yes, we discuss things, but remember, we’re not in a love affair, but a business relationship, and we are here to be successful and support Greenland.

– There has been some difficulties and protests down the road, regarding the rights of small-scale miners – locals who want to search and find rubies, and sell them to tourists. These problems, are they over and dealt with?

 

The people of Greenland will allways have the right to pick their own stones, and TNG will be helpful. Of course, they cannot pick stones on the mine site or True North Gems claims, Nicholas Houghton says. (Photo by TNG).

The people of Greenland will allways have the right to pick their own stones, and TNG will be helpful. Of course, they cannot pick stones on the mine site or True North Gems claims, Nicholas Houghton says. (Photo by TNG).

Our experts will help locals

-Local people have always been allowed to go out and pick their own gemstones, and they will always be welcome to consult our expert geologists if they want. Of course, they cannot pick stones on the mine site or True North Gems claims, but for all other purposes, we want to work with the people of Greenland. Moreover, we do so.

The local authorities are very happy that we are here, creating jobs for people. When we get into full production, there will be approximately 80 people working for our company; most of those will be sources using local labour.

Nicholas Houghton points out that TNG is not a big multinational firm, but a rather small mining company.

Mining is just another industry

-We want to employ as many locals as possible, and those who lack the skills we will teach. Somehow, the term “mining” seems scary to many people, but this is an industry like many others – with many different skillsets required.

-As far as we know, TNG has not shipped one single ruby from Greenland yet. When will you start the promised production?

-Very soon. We are already producing, but not full-scale. The first shipment of stones will likely leave our new quay in Aappaluttoq sometime in May or June, at the earliest.

 

Rough conditions and heavy equipment, and then again, just another industry, Mr. Houghton says. (Photo by TNG).

Rough conditions and heavy equipment, and then again, just another industry, Mr. Houghton says. (Photo by TNG).

Will stay for years to come

-You have told that this first pit, or mine, will produce stones over a period of nine years. Considering the investments made in infrastructure etc., it seems to be a short horizon?

Houghton gives a hearty laugh.

-Well, the value is quite good, and just the first ore body we are extracting will be enough to meet the investments. Our exploitation license gives us 30 years, starting from 2015, and we know how to expand the mine.

We have a lot of time and will remain in Greenland, producing beautiful stones for years to come, clarifies True North Gems CEO, Nicholas Houghton.

Other articles on TNG/LNS from High North News (in Norwegian):
LNS-rubiner fra Grønland til Bangkok 
LNS starter rubinuttaket i august-september 
Bekymret for norske entreprenører, utvider på Grønland 
Nordnorsk konsern blir verdensledende på rubiner  








Rubies are - for ever? But they need processing. (Photos by TNG).

Rubies are – for ever? But they need processing. (Photos by TNG).

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