Greenland pushes on with uranium policy

28 November 2012

Greenland Minerals and Energy (GME) has welcomed promises by Greenland's parliament to fast-track necessary reviews so that the country's uranium policy can be finalised.

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GME's Greenland exploration activities (Image; GME)

According to GME, proposals to fast-track an independent review, considered in parliament on 21 November, received unanimous cross-party support. Crucially, this will include an independent review on aspects relating to foreign policy and the roles of Greenland and Denmark. The island of Greenland is itself a self-governed autonomous country but is also part of the kingdom of Denmark. The parliament is seeking clarification on whether Denmark could formally prevent the it from permitting uranium mining.

Danish foreign minister Villy Søvndal was present in Greenland at the time of the parliamentary debate, and according to GME he has indicated that Denmark will support Greenland in pursuing uranium production. However, Denmark will be responsible for ensuring compliance with international conventions including those covering non-proliferation.

Australian company GME owns the Kvanefjeld uranium and rare earth element project in the country. Pre-feasibility studies suggest that Kvanefjeld, with  uranium resources of some 575 million pounds U3O8 (over 221,000 tU), could be among the bottom half of uranium producers in terms of cost and one of the lowest cost rare earth element producers in the world. The production of by-product uranium alongside zinc and rare earth oxides including yttrium found at Kvanefjeld would provide it with a major economic advantage over other rare-earth operations.

The government of Greenland allowed GME to include uranium in its feasibility studies for Kvanefjeld in 2010. It subsequently amended the company's exploration licence to include uranium giving it the right to apply to mine uranium under the country's broader mining regulatory framework.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News