Uranium and rare earth NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark publishes the EIA report for the Kvanefjeld project
Under Greenland’s freedom of information act, NOAH has been granted access to the redacted EIA report for the big Kuannersuit/Kvanefjeld REE/uranium mining project. It is owned by the Australian company Greenland Minerals Ltd., GML. According to GML, in addition to containing the second biggest uranium and by far the largest thorium deposits, the Ilimaussaq-complex, of which Kvanefjeld is a part, possesses the second largest deposits of rare earth elements in the world. The mine, which would be the world’s second largest open pit uranium mine, is located on top of a mountain, 600 metres above sea-level, only six kilometres away from Narsaq, a town of approximately 1,500 inhabitants, and also near some of the parts of the Kujataa World Heritage Site. According to the EIA report, the mining project will increase Greenland’s current total CO2 emissions by 45 percent.
Four earlier drafts of the EIA report were rejected because of lack of documentation. Among other things, they were criticised by Greenland’s Environmental Agency for Mineral Resources Activities (EAMRA) for not providing a comprehensive assessment of the earthquake risk in the region, final results of tests of toxic elements during extraction and processing, final radiological estimates, and results of investigations of impacts of radioactive minerals. Also missing were a credible description of the embankment structures for the tailings facility and alternatives regarding tailings management and the shutdown of the tailings facility. In September 2019, the CEO of GML was formally reproached by Greenland’s Prime Minister and the Department of Nature and Environment’s Permanent Secretary for lobbying high-ranking civil servants and ministers who had no competence within the EIA review process in order to undermine EAMRA’s authority.
This version of the report has been approved by EAMRA. The social impact assessment of the mining project has also been approved by the authorities. Thus, public hearings on the project will start as soon as the English version of the report is translated into Greenlandic and Danish language. The hearings are expected to last at least eight weeks.
Link to the EIA report:
Melissa Cherry Villumsen, 13 October 2018