Greenland and Denmark’s parliaments have passed legislation to regulate uranium export from Greenland.
The announcement is welcome news for one Australian miner, Greenland Minerals and Energy, which has both uranium and rare earths materials at its Kvanefjeld project on the southern tip of the country, calling the decision a significant milestone for the company.
In May, in Greenland’s parliament, four bills were passed to ensure uranium mining and export was carried out in a manner that meet’s Denmark’s non-proliferation commitments, putting into place regulatory and legislative frameworks to permit mining and export.
Last week, the Danish parliament also passed legislation to allow Greenland to export uranium, assuming responsibility for international safeguards to ensure peaceful use of Greenland’s uranium.
These two decisions will come into force on 1 July this year, and clear the path for international sales of uranium from the island.
Commenting on the new legislation from the two countries, Greenland Minerals & Energy managing director John Mair said, “The establishment of a regulatory framework within the Kingdom of Denmark to manage uranium exports from Greenland is an important prerequisite for Kvanefjeld’s successful development.”
“The parliamentary approvals that have completed this process represent a significant milestone, and set a solid foundation for Kvanefjeld’s progress toward development. The developments provide a further demonstration of Greenland’s efforts to support the resources industry and attract foreign investment.”
This foreign investment push began in 2011, when the country touted its lack of a mining tax to attract the interest of Australian miners looking to develop the country’ s rich reserves of minerals.
Average ice loss in Greenland since 1993 has been about 120 billion tonnes per year, with evidence the rate may be increasing.
While still administered by Denmark, Greenland’s recent change to a self-governance structure, where it controls its own mining laws, has also helped increase mining interest.
Greenland’s deposits remain relatively undeveloped due to the country’s previous focus on fishing, but with global fisheries turning down it is looking to other resources to drive growth.
GME’s Kvanefjeld deposit is reportedly the world’s second largest rare earth deposit and sixth largest uranium deposit.
The company, which owns 100 per cent of the Kvanefjeld multi-element project (which also includes zinc), said the deposit holds enough uranium to pay for the cost of the mine with all revenue made from production to be profit.
The project has an initial mine life of some 33 years.
It was also recognised last year as one of the world’s most innovative mining projects at the Bentley’s 2015 Be Inspired awards.