Greenland has taken the first step towards outlawing uranium mining after lawmakers there proposed a stricter version of a ban that the country’s national assembly overturned in 2013.
Only July 2, the elected government began a month-long public consultation period for a proposed bill that, in addition to mining uranium, would prohibit the feasibility studies and exploration activities that must be completed before a mining project can be considered for a license to begin operation.
According to proposal, Naalakkersuisut, the elected government, is hoping that a reinstatement of what was known as the zero-tolerance policy, to achieve its goal of ensuring that “Greenland neither produces nor exports uranium.”
Overturning the original ban allowed Greenland Minerals, an Australian firm, to proceed with its efforts to establish a rare-earths mine at Kuannersuit (also known as Kvanefjeld), in southern Greenland.
But that mine, which is currently in the final stage of the approval process, would be located in an area that is high in uranium, and residents of nearby Narsaq fear that activity there would kick up radioactive dust that would settle on the town.
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