Uranium producer Cameco considers expansion into Greenland
by Jan M. Olsen, The Associated Press
Mine in southern Greenland could contain largest rare-earth metals deposit outside of China
COPENHAGEN, Denmark—One of the world’s largest uranium producers would would be open to setting up projects in Greenland after its Parliament lifted a 25-year mining ban.
A Cameco spokesperson welcomed the decision, and said the Canadian firm would consider expansion to the semi-autonomous part of Denmark.
“We are pleased to see that Greenland has opened the door to safe and responsible uranium mining,” said Rob Gereghty, a spokesperson for the Saskatoon-based company.
“Currently, we are focusing our exploration efforts in Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan and the United States. As we look forward, the removal of this barrier will allow us to consider Greenland for potential uranium exploration projects.”
Experts estimate that a mine in southern Greenland could contain the largest rare-earth metals deposit outside of China, which currently accounts for more than 90 per cent of global production.
An Australian company has estimated it could extract up to 40,000 tons of rare earth metals per year.
In its vote to lift the ban, the government also gave a British company a license to extract iron.
The company, London Mining, is now seeking investments to develop a mine northeast of Nuuk, the capital, and is expected to bring in foreign workers, possibly from China.
Environmental activists lamented Parliament’s narrow vote in favour of lifting the ban on uranium extraction.
“It can have great consequences for the environment and the people of Greenland,” said Greenpeace spokesman Jon Burgwald in Copenhagen.
“So we suggest that specific maximum limits on how much radiation, wastewater discharge, etc.” are allowed, he continued.
—With files from The Canadian Press
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