Proposed change of mining law to abolish citizens’ rights (Sermitsiaq AG July 9, 2014)

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Proposed change of mining law to abolish citizens’ rights

Environmental organizations are raging over the Naalakkersuisut (Greenlandic government) amendment in Mining Law that abolishes the right of the public in matters relating to uranium mining and other mining. The four environmental organizations Avataq external link, The Ecological Council external link,Noah external link and Renewable Energy external link warn against this controversial decision, that in violation of the Aarhus Convention will reduce public access to environmental information, their involvement in decision-making, and their access to judicial verification and complaint time, they write in a joint press release. (Sermitsiaq AG July 9, 2014)

Greenland’s zero-tolerance uranium policy

Majority wants referendum on Greenland’s uranium policy

There is a majority of the population that there should be a referendum on whether Greenland needs to extract uranium. This shows a Sermitsiaq opinion poll on public attitudes to the seven selected election themes. The opinion poll was conducted by HS Analysis for Sermitsiak. (Sermitsiaq Nov. 22, 2014)

Greenland opposition calls for referendum on uranium policy

Greenland’s hotly contested reversal of a national ban on uranium mining last year remains a divisive issue in the country’s on-going general-election campaign. During a televised debate this week, Siumut, led by acting premier Kim Kielsen, said it continued to support the relaxed mining regulations, and that it would seek to begin negotiations to set a limit on uranium concentrations. IA, the largest opposition party, says it prefers putting the issue to a referendum. “We are also in favour of setting a maximum limit, but we feel the people should be asked,” Sara Olsvig, the IA leader said. (Artic Journal Nov. 6, 2014)

Greenland parliament lifts zero-tolerance uranium policy

In a 15 – 14 vote, Greenland’s parliament Inatsisartut lifted the 25-year old zero-tolerance uranium policy. (Sermitsiaq Oct. 24, 2013)

Demonstrations in Nuuk for and against proposed lifting of zero-tolerance uranium policy

Hundreds of upset citizens marched Wednesday (Oct. 23) in Nuuk on uranium mining in this country: the demonstration in Nuuk organized by the interest group ‘Naamik qujaannarpunga’ (no thanks) was backed by hundreds of citizens who oppose Naalakkersuisut’s principle motions to lift the zero-tolerance policy towards uranium and other radioactive minerals in mineral extraction.
On Wednesday night (Oct. 23), the Progressive Party Nuuk organized a torchlight procession in support of the abolition of zero tolerance towards uranium that is being voted on Inatsisartut today Thursday (Oct. 24). The demonstration was attended by about 400 – 500 people. (Sermitsiaq Oct. 24, 2013)

Partii Inuit dismissed from Greenland’s government for not supporting proposed lifting of zero-tolerance uranium policy

The Premier Ms Hammond from the Progressive Party has fired Partii Inuit. The reason is that Partii Inuit does not support the repeal of zero tolerance towards uranium and other radioactive substances in mineral extraction. This was announced by Ms Hammond during a news conference Wednesday night (Oct. 23, 2013). (Sermitsiaq Oct. 23, 2013)

Demonstration in Qassiarsuk against proposed lifting of zero-tolerance uranium policy

People in Qassiarsuk, located about 50 kilometers from Kuannersuit (Kvanefjeld), fear for the village’s future in the event of pollution caused by Inatsisartut’s (Greenlandic Parliament) adoption of the repeal of the zero tolerance policy towards uranium and other radioactive minerals in mineral extraction. Residents are insecure because they have not been informed of the consequences of the decision. Therefore, there was a demonstration against the uranium plans on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 23). (Sermitsiaq Oct. 23, 2013)

Greenlandic Parliament debates proposal for lifting zero-tolerance uranium policy

After nearly five hours of heated debate during the first reading on Thursday (Oct. 10), Inatsisartut (Greenlandic Parliament) referred the proposal for lifting the zero-tolerance uranium policy to the Natural Resources Committee. The second reading will be held on Oct. 24, 2013. (Sermitsiaq Oct. 10, 2013)

Demonstrations in Nuuk and Narsaq against proposed lifting of Greenland’s zero-tolerance uranium policy

Just over 100 protesters braved the chilly weather in Nuuk Tuesday (Oct. 8) and marched in protest against the abolition of the zero-tolerance policy towards uranium and other radioactive minerals as by-product of mineral extraction. (Sermitsiaq Oct. 8, 2013)
About 25 people braved the weather gods in Narsaq Tuesday and marched against Naalakkersuisut’s (Greenlandic Government) uranium policy. (Sermitsiaq Oct. 9, 2013)

Greenland may not export uranium without Denmark’s consent, report says

Greenland has no right to export uranium without the consent of Denmark, concludes a yet unpublished new report.
– When we speak of uranium, or when we talk rare earths, it is something that should be covered by joint agreements (between Denmark and Greenland, ed.). It is also agreed in the joint report, we have made, says Foreign Minister Søvndal (SF) to ABC News after a three-hour meeting of the Foreign Policy Committee today. (DR Oct. 2, 2013)
> Download: Rapport om udvinding og eksport af uran external link, Arbejdsgruppen om konsekvenserne af ophævelse af nul-tolerancepolitikken, Oktober 2013 (1.7MB PDF – in Danish)

Greenland’s government proposes consultative referendum on zero-tolerance uranium policy

Naalakkersuisut (Greenlandic Government) expects shortly to receive an application for an exploitation license of rare earths in Kuannersuit (Kvanefjeld) at Narsaq. The government now proposes to Inatsisartut (Greenlandic Parliament), that a consultative referendum be held in South Greenland before any decision is made on the application. (Sermitsiaq Sep. 13, 2013)
> Download: Opening speech of Premier Aleqa Hammond on Sep. 13, 2013 external link (PDF – in Danish)

Protest with drum dance against proposal to abandon zero-tolerance uranium policy

Maintain the zero tolerance policy towards uranium as a by-product of mineral extraction. That was the clear message to Naalakkersuisut (Greenlandic Government) at an event Wednesday (Sep. 11) afternoon in Nuuk, where the attendees braved the rain. Both experienced drum dancers and some without much experience took drum and expressed their protest in their own way. Politicians from IA (Inuit Ataqatigiit) with party chairman Kleist also took the opportunity to show their dissatisfaction that Inatsisartut (Greenlandic Parliament) plans to treat the Naalakkersuisut proposal to repeal the highly controversial zero tolerance policy towards uranium as a by mineral extraction in the autumn session. (Sermitsiaq Sep. 12, 2013)
On Friday (Sep. 13) the beginning nine-week autumn session of the parliament was greeted with a demonstration against a repeal of the zero-tolerance uranium policy. (Sermitsiaq Sep. 13, 2013)

Greenland’s zero-tolerance uranium policy to be abolished in October 2013

Greenland’s self-government (Naalakkersuisut) may soon begin processing applications for use of uranium-bearing minerals. This can be achieved by adopting the abolition of zero-tolerance towards uranium, which is expected to be completed during Greenland Parliament’s (Inatsisartut) autumn session. This was announced by Greenland’s Minister for Raw Materials Jens-Erik Kirkegaard in reply to parliamentary questions. (Sermitsiaq June 26, 2013)
> Download: Government’s proposal to lift the ban on uranium mining, Aug. 8, 2013 external link (PDF – in Danish)

NGOs appeal to keep Greenland’s zero-tolerance uranium policy

48 environmental organizations from many countries are encouraging the Greenland Home Rule Government and the Danish Government to maintain the uranium zero-tolerance policy in the commonwealth. Both have recently indicated that they want to lift the ban on uranium mining in Greenland. Therefore, Avataq external link, NOAH Friends of the Earth Europe external link and the Ecological Council external link initiated this resolution to the minister chairperson, Ms Hammond and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
The resolution calls on Naalakkersuisut and the Danish Government to maintain the uranium zero-tolerance policy in the commonwealth. Uranium mining is unnecessary, since it is possible to recover the rare earths at other places, where they do not come together with uranium. (Sermitsiaq Apr. 27, 2013)
> Download Statement on uranium mining in Greenland external link, April 26, 2013

Greenland plans to relax zero-tolerance uranium policy

Greenland’s incoming Minister for Food and Raw Materials Jens-Erik Kirkegaard plans to relax the tolerance threshold for uranium in mined ores from 60 to 1000 grams per tonne (from 0.006 to 0.1 weight-percent). This means a green light to extract rare earths from all known deposits in Greenland. (Sermitsiaq Apr. 2, 2013)

Denmark ready to allow mining and export of Greenland’s uranium

A majority in the Danish parliament is prepared to allow the mining and export of uranium in Greenland, as wished by Greenland’s self-government. After 25 years of opposition to nuclear power and uranium contamination, a majority in parliament for the first time is prepared to repeal the so-called zero tolerance policy for uranium. If Greenland requests, the possibility is thus opened to the mining of the world’s fifth largest uranium reserves at Kvanefjeld, located in southern Greenland. (Politiken Jan. 26, 2013)

Denmark and Greenland establish commission to assess the impact of lifting the zero-tolerance uranium policy

The governments of Denmark and Greenland on Wednesday (Nov. 21) established an expert group to prepare a report until next spring highlighting both major political and more tangible consequences of a relaxation of the zero-tolerance policy. (Sermitsiaq Nov. 21, 2012)
[…] while it is up to Greenland whether to mine for uranium, the Kingdom of Denmark has responsibilities and obligations under international treaties and agreements concerning uranium. It is currently uncertain how allowing uranium mining would affect these responsibilities, which is why the two governments have established the commission to map these international obligations. (Copenhagen Post Dec. 5, 2012)

Greenland relaxes zero-tolerance uranium policy for exploration licenses

On Sep. 10, 2010, Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd announced that an amendment has been made by the Government of Greenland to the Standard Terms for Exploration Licenses that allows for the inclusion of radioactive elements as exploitable minerals for the purpose of thorough evaluation and reporting.

Municipal council of Southern Greenland backs end of zero-tolerance uranium policy

On May 12, 2010, the municipal council of South Greenland voted in favour of a change from the zero-tolerance uranium policy. The council has put forward an invitation to the legal assembly of Greenland to change regulations from the current zero tolerance uranium policy to a byproduct-policy with a maximum concentration limit for uranium of 0.1%. (Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd May 26, 2010)

New government of Greenland upholds ban on by-product extraction of uranium

Naalakkersuisut’s (Greenlandic Government’s) uranium policy is unchanged and thus not any decision has been taken on changing the zero-tolerance which has been in existence since the 1980s, premier Kuupik Kleist said. This means that some projects can not be implemented because of the high by-product content of uranium. (Sermitsiaq avis June 24, 2009)

Greenland parliament allows by-product recovery of uranium

A majority in parliament agreed to support the extraction of uranium as a by-product from mines where other minerals are the primary target. Siumut, Atassut and the Democrats all support easing the country’s 20-year-old ‘zero tolerance’ policy regarding uranium mining. Inuit Ataqatigiit and Kattusseqatigiit are both opposed to the proposal. (Sermitsiaq avis Nov. 27, 2008)

Inuit advocate against uranium mining in Greenland

Greenland’s environment should come before profits from mining, a leading Inuit spokesperson told American broadcaster CBS. The president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council in Greenland external link believes mining companies should not be permitted to remove uranium from Greenland’s underground, under any circumstances. ‘Why should be spoil our nature and our people’s health,’ Aqqaluk Lynge told CBS News.
The Greenlandic and Danish parliaments banned uranium mining over two decades ago, but the question has arisen after some mining companies requested permission to extract uranium obtained during the mining of other types of metals.
Lynge said that with the intensifying hunt for natural resources in the Arctic meant the country needed to be careful not to get caught up by dreams of quick riches. ‘We’re in the same situation Arctic peoples in Alaska and Canada have already been through. We need to be careful with our environment, especially since climate change could change much of it.’ (Sermitsiaq avis July 31, 2008)

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