Greenland bans uranium mining, halts rare earth project


COPENHAGEN, Nov. 10 (Reuters) – The Greenlandic parliament has passed a law banning uranium mining and ending development at the Kuannersuit mine, one of the world’s largest rare earth deposits.

Kuannersuit, owned by Australian mining company Greenland Minerals (GGG.AX) and located near the southern town of Narsaq, contains a large deposit of rare earth metals, used to make consumer electronics and weapons, as well as radioactive uranium.

The law, passed by parliament on Tuesday evening, was introduced by the Inuit Ataqatigiit party which came to power in April after campaigning to ban uranium mining and stop the Kuannersuit project, also known as Kvanefjeld. .

The new law prohibits exploration of deposits with a uranium concentration greater than 100 parts per minute (ppm), which is considered very low by the World Nuclear Association.

Greenland Minerals was on track to secure final approval for the mine under the previous government, but residents fear it could harm the country’s fragile environment if it is developed.

The law also provides for the possibility of prohibiting the exploration of other radioactive minerals such as thorium.

China is the main producer of rare earths, a group of 17 specialized minerals. In September, it increased its annual production quotas against a backdrop of tight supply for manufacturers. Read more

Demand for rare earth permanent magnets, key to electric vehicles (EVs) and wind turbines, is expected to skyrocket with increased efforts to reduce carbon emissions. read more The United States has urged its allies to increase supply.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; edited by Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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