Greenland says yes to mining but no to uranium

New Government of Greenland supports mining and is eager to see projects progressing

Friday 23 April 2021, a new government resumed their seats. The government is formed by the two parties Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) and Partii Naleraq. New minister for the mineral resources area is Naaja Nathanielsen, who has been a number of Parliament in the years 2009-2016, including being chair of the Parliament Committee for Mineral Resources and Finances. Naaja Nathanielsen has been director of the Greenlandic Department of Prisons and Probation since 2016.

The mineral resources area is very important for the new government in order to diversify the Greenlandic economy to the benefit of all. The government is very keen to see all types of mining projects progress, except uranium. In relation to uranium, the government has already started the work on formulating regulation for the future relation to exploitation of resources containing radioactive elements.

Minister for Housing, Infrastructure, Mineral Resources and Gender Equality, Naaja Nathanielsen states;

“I am very excited to take on the responsibility for the mineral resources area. Mining remains an industry that the new government intends to develop and prioritize in the future – both for international companies as well as local entrepreneurs. I look forward to meeting existing as well as future licensees.

The new coalition do not support exploitation of uranium and according to a new opinion poll, this position is shared by a majority of the population. Therefore, I have started the work of reviewing and, if necessary, adjusting the terms that are currently in place for exploitation of radioactive elements in Greenland, in order to enforce the zero tolerance policy to the widest extent possible.”

Greenland’s Mineral Strategy 2020-2024 still provides the framework for the further development of the mineral resources area in Greenland. The Ministry of Mineral Resources and the MLSA will therefore continue the work towards implementing the initiatives from the strategy.

The Kuannersuit project

The application for exploitation by Greenland Minerals for the Kuannersuit project will be handled according to the Mineral Resources Act and the special terms issued to this project.

Minister Naaja Nathanielsen states;

“The Government of Greenland follows the current legislation and the terms that are stated in the exploration licence. The Kuannersuit project, held by Greenland Minerals, is a special case, in which the company has been granted the right to explore for radioactive elements under special terms and on the basis of a special course. According to the Mineral Resources Act, Greenland Minerals has the right to have the public consultation process conducted as part of their application for exploitation and I will of course help to complete it.

In parallel, I am in the process of assessing what opportunities the Self-Government has within the framework of the Mineral Resources Act and the exploration licence to achieve the government’s goal of avoiding exploitation of uranium – also for the Kuannersuit project.”

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