It has been reported that Greenland’s government has agreed to lift a long time ban on the mining of uranium and its intermixed rare earth deposits. Greenland’s parliament voted to put an end to the 25-year ban following a controversial debate which was narrowly passed by a 15-14 count.
Greenland is keen to profit from its rare earth reserves which have been in high demand since China imposed export quotas in 2010. This landmark decision places Greenland on the path to uranium-producer status, and thereby opens up resources of rare earth elements to exploitation.
Abundant resources of uranium strongly enriched in rare earth elements are reported to occur in Greenland’s south. These resources are hosted within the northern Ilimaussaq Complex and form the basis of the Kvanefjeld project owned by Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd (GMEL).
Kvanefjeld is the first of several large-scale deposits to be outlined, and is widely recognised as one of the world’s largest resources of rare earth elements as well as containing substantial resources of uranium and zinc. A Preliminary Feasibility Study on Kvanefjeld, released by GMEL in 2012, outlined a long-life, internationally cost-competitive operation that would stand to make Greenland a major supplier of REEs and a substantial long-term supplier of uranium oxide.