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Uranium deal with Greenland sealed by year's end

Greenland is gambling that mining will save its economy, but still needs Denmark's help handling by-products


Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Greenlandic Premier Aleqa Hammond said they will co-operate to manage Greenland's uranium mining (Photo: Scanpix)

January 9, 2014
12:22

by PS


Denmark and Greenland will have an agreement about how to proceed with uranium mining in the Arctic country in place by the end of the year.

At a press conference yesterday following a meeting with the Greenlandic premier Aleqa Hammond, Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S) said that she was confident an agreement would be in place in the second half of 2014.

"We have made strides but we also admit that we don't agree on everything," she said, according to AFP.

READ MORE: Greenland votes to overturn uranium ban

Tricky relationship
Greenland is a self governing territory in the Kingdom of Denmark that – after starting as a colony – has slowly assumed control of a wide range of responsibilities from the Danish government.

Denmark is still responsible for Greenland’s security and defence, which has consequences if Greenland wants to permit foreign companies to mine for rare earth minerals.

The best deposits that have so far been discovered are mixed with uranium, making the radioactive element an inevitable by-product. Greenland and Denmark therefore need to develop a plan for how to handle, store and sell the uranium while upholding international nuclear treaties.

READ MORE: Premier: Greenland's future lies underground

Mining future
Following the vote to permit uranium mining, Hammond reiterated Greenland’s right to develop its mineral resources and yesterday stressed the importance of mining for the nation’s future.

"My generation will retire in 20 years, and there will be twice as many pensioners in Greenland compared to today," she said. 

"To even have a society based on the same level of welfare that we advocate, decisions have to be made today, [as well as] on issues that have to do with uranium, that are of great economic importance," Hammond added.



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