Uranium extraction in Greenland: a controversial authorization

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Greenland’s parliament has voted on Thursday in favour of mining for minerals resources, including uranium. Hammond’s government won the debate by 15-14 votes and the law has caused controversy. To boost its mining industry and economy, the country now authorizes companies to exploit its vast natural reserves. In the 21st century, this mineral is used for products as hybrid cars, smartphones, lasers or nuclear production. Rare earth main producer is now China, which supplies Australian companies. The stakes are not only economic but also environmental. In the era of global warming, this news cans worry a little. The country has a very strategic natural reserve, since six out of 14 elements described as critical raw materials, including iron ore, gold, uranium, zinc, rare earth and rubies could be present in the south of Greenland. For the moment, Denmark is the only one to oppose this decision.  The project has been criticised by environmental groups but also by natives. On behalf of the Inuit Ataqatigilt, Sara Olswig, criticized the way Hammond government has led the debate to authorize the uranium extraction. She denounces an “undemocratic approach”, thus that decisions are taken “without the involvement of the Parliament, and without further public involvement”.

Célia Coudret, IEJ 3F

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