Greenland End to 25-Year Uranium Mining Ban Gets Danish Backing

Denmark said it backs Greenland’s plans to develop natural resources after the Arctic island’s parliament yesterday voted to end a “zero tolerance” policy on uranium mining.

Greenland, which is self-governing, is part of the Kingdom of Denmark and shares responsibility for security and foreign policy with the government in Copenhagen.

“Concrete steps to mining and exporting uranium will have potentially far-reaching consequences for foreign, defense and security policies,” Danish Minister of Trade and European Affairs Nick Haekkerup said in a statement published on the Foreign Ministry’s website. It’s imperative that “exploration and development will be done according to the highest international standards,” he said.

Greenland’s government has invited miners and oil and gas companies to explore the island’s natural resources as it works to limit its economic dependence on fishery and subsidies from Denmark.

The Kvanefjeld development in Southern Greenland holds uranium and rare earth minerals of “genuine global significance,” Australian miner Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd. said in a stock-exchange statement today. The company said it will continue talks on developing the Kvanefjeld project with local stakeholders and regulators.

Tanbreez Mining Greenland A/S, a subsidiary of Australia’s Rimbal Pty Ltd., has applied for a permit to mine rare earth minerals in Greenland.

Yesterday, Greenland awarded London Mining Plc a license to develop a 14 billion-krone ($2.6 billion) iron ore mine north of the capital Nuuk. According to the Greenland government, the mine will employ 3,000 people making it the biggest business venture in the island’s history.