Greenland repeals radioactive mining ban
IRJ – 25 Oct – Greenland has voted to axe a long-enduring ban on mining for radioactive materials, reopening the market to uranium and rare earths mining.
Yesterday’s parliamentary vote passed the decision by a staggeringly close 15-14 votes.
According to local newspaper Sermitsiaq, Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond said in the debate: “We cannot live with unemployment and cost of living increases while our economy is at a standstill. It is therefore necessary that we eliminate zero tolerance towards uranium now.”
The ban has previously prevented the extraction of some major rare earth deposits, because they are connected to radioactive materials.
Greenland is believed to have enough rare earths to fulfil one quarter of global demand – currently fulfilled 95% by China – over the next half-century.
Environmental groups have criticised the decision to open the door to uranium mining, saying that it could threaten the region’s pristine ecological system.