Greenland’s new government vows to block rare-earth mine proposed by the UK

Posted: April 19, 2021 by oldbrew in Energy, government, Politics
Tags: ,

Kvanefjeld, Greenland [image credit:]

The UK government sees an opportunity to extract minerals from there for electric cars, wind turbines etc. to help satisfy its obsessive desire to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But some Greenlanders are concerned about radioactive uranium in the mine’s contents.
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Greenland’s left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA), which has pledged to oppose a large rare-earth mining project, announced a new government coalition on Friday, as it reiterated its strong environmental stance and vowed to combat acute social issues, reports Yahoo News.

The Arctic island of 56,000 people has gained international attention since former U.S. President Donald Trump offered to buy it in 2019, partly to help address Chinese dominance of rare earth mineral supplies.

“We are one people and we must stand together in Greenland, especially because our country is under incredible focus from the outside world,” new Prime Minister Mute Egede told reporters in the capital Nuuk, accompanied by traditional Inuit music.

For only the second time in 40 years, IA won a snap election last week with more than a third of votes, dethroning the ruling Siumut party, which had led every government except one since 1979.

IA’s victory sent a strong signal to international mining companies interested in mineral-rich Greenland. The party campaigned against a controversial rare-earth mining project at Kvanefjeld in the south of the island.

Full report here.
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Extracts from the Daily Telegraph report:

Overlooking the small fishing town of Narsaq, next to painted houses and slow-moving icebergs, lies one of the last great untapped deposits of rare earth materials.

About a quarter of the world’s rare earth minerals are thought to be found here, deep in the southern fjords of Greenland, providing key ingredients needed to build everything from wind turbines or electric vehicles.

These deposits are crucial to Britain’s dream of developing the technologies required to become a green economy while reducing our rare-earth reliance on China.

But one man could be about to scupper the UK’s plans.
. . .
The project was considered an answer to China’s monopoly on the extraction of the materials. China supplies the EU with 98pc of its rare earths, and 80pc of America’s total.
. . .
Rare earths are actually not that rare, but are difficult to find in concentrations that make them viable to extract. That is why Greenland, a self-governing territory of Denmark, has sparked so much excitement.
. . .
“We know the political situation in China – it’s not a country that we particularly want to be 100pc dependent on,” says Jens Andersen, economic geology professor at the University of Exeter, adding there have also been concerns about China using coal to power rare earth extraction which defeats the purpose of the green transition.
. . .
“Unfortunately for Kvanefjeld it is a specific issue that surrounds that project and the fact that it’s got rare earth it’s one of the biggest rarer deposits in the world, but bound in with that is the uranium, so you can’t have one without the other.”
. . .
The green revolution is changing the dynamics in global politics. Just as plentiful coal mines helped drive Britain’s industrial revolution, the race to create green energy supply chains will create new winners and Egede is emerging as an unlikely early example.

  1. Coeur de Lion says:

    Seen the Tesla crash and battery fire, two deaths, over on WUWT?

  2. Chaswarnertoo says:

    We have 100+ years of oil and less than 10 years of lithium….

  3. fitzfitz says:

    … another leftist first-step propaganda “success” — in fact a shot in the foot.
    London should have annexed the territory years ago and the green, so called rare metals mine should be operating at full tilt by this stage.

  4. hunterson7 says:

    More bad results from left wing anti-scientific nonsense.
    The mining, properly done, would pose no actual threat to anything.
    So a mine that could help break Chinese control of the si- called rare warth markets…
    and provide a great deal if much needed wealth…doesn’t happen.
    So bet on the Chinese being behind the lefty politician. And the Chinese getting the mine instead.

  5. oldbrew says:

    The uranium is the real sticking point, as the Telegraph says:

    Research by the Polar Research and Policy Initiative found that UK businesses held more Greenlandic mining licences than companies from any other country.
    . . .
    “Unfortunately for Kvanefjeld it is a specific issue that surrounds that project and the fact that it’s got rare earth. It’s one of the biggest rare earth deposits in the world, but bound in with that is the uranium, so you can’t have one without the other.”

    Frangeskides believes the fact another rare earth deposit across the fjord from Kvanefjeld, called Kringlerne, is mining for rare earths without uranium or controversy shows the mining itself is not the issue.
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    Maybe a way forward can be found.

  6. Gamecock says:

    ‘Kvanefjeld contains a large deposit of rare earth metals, used to make wind turbines and electric car batteries, but also radioactive uranium, which many fear will harm the country’s fragile environment.’

    ‘Fragile environment.’

    At least they have a sense of humor.

  7. ivan says:

    Maybe a way forward can be found.

    There are two in fact.
    a) stop building the stupid inefficient electric cars because there isn’t enough electricity available to charge them.
    b) build nuclear power stations that would then use the uranium for some practical advantage.