Rock sample from Kvanefjeld with arfvedsonite (black), eudialyte (red), feldspar and sodalite (white). Foto: Ole Geertz-Hansen

In October 2013, the Parliament of Greenland, Inatsisartut, officially changed its mining policy and opened up for extraction of uranium and other radioactive minerals in Greenland. This means that mining companies can now submit applications to exploit radioactive minerals in Greenland's subsoil.

The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (GINR) and the Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE) at Aarhus University have reached an agreement with the Environment Agency for Mineral Resources Activities on building expertise and disseminating information on the environmental impact and regulation of uranium exploitation in Greenland. The agreement includes a review of environmental problems that uranium extraction has caused in other countries, and how these countries have tackled the problems that have arisen. The review focuses particularly on the US, Canada and Australia, which have large mining industries and extensive experience in both legislation and environmental problems.

GINR and DCE are in the process of elaborating a comprehensive report with a detailed assessment of the entire process surrounding the extraction of radioactive materials, environmental problems and solutions, legislation and regulation. The title of the report is: Environmental Issues and Management of Exploitation of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Minerals in Greenland. The report will only be available in English, but with a summary in Danish and Greenlandic.

Furthermore, the two organizations have compiled a brief pamphlet aimed at providing an overview of the environmental problems that the extraction of radioactive materials can entail, and how these problems can be prevented or minimized. This paper is expected to be published during the course of 2016.

Updated 03.09.2016