A massive uranium mine planned for Greenland would see over 100 million tonnes of ore crushed to extract radioactive uranium and rare earths.
An environmental report reported on by DR Nyheder revealed that there will be an open pit mine in Kvanefjeld in southern Greenland, which is located about 8 km from the village of Narsaq.
The plan is for 3 million tonnes of ore per year to be mined and processed to extract specific rare earth elements and uranium.
Chemicals and waste
In addition to the open mine, there are plans for two processing plants, a new port for unloading raw materials and the uranium, houses for workers, a power plant and fuel storage depots.
Over 100 tonness of ore will be processed before the mine is exhausted, leaving behind a massive amount of mud-like waste products consisting primarily of crushed ore, water and the chemicals used to extract the rare earths and uranium. Some 21,000 tonnes of chemicals will be used each year to extract the coveted substances.
According to provisional plans, the waste mud will be placed at the bottom of a lake in the area. The lake is far from being deep enough, so the mining company will build two dams – about 45 and 60 metres high – to help contain the waste.
A big hole
The mine is predicted to have a lifespan of about 37 years and employ around 800 employees. The hope is that 325 of them will be Greenlanders. It will run around the clock while it is open.
The shutdown period will take six years. Once the mine finally closes, there will be an open hole left behind that will one day be filled with rainwater.