by Staff Writers
Copenhagen (XNA) Jan 22, 2016
Denmark and Greenland have reached an agreement on the rules for future commercial exports of uranium from the island, local media reported Tuesday.
Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has signed an agreement with the self-governed Greenland after prolonged discussion, Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen was cited by Danish news agency Ritzau as saying.
"We have had to agree on how we deal with the fact that Greenland has the right to extract uranium, while Denmark is responsible for what happens when it is extracted and to be exported," Jensen said when briefing the Foreign Policy Committee on Tuesday.
In November 2009, the Greenland authorities have decided to take over responsibility for the mineral resource area starting from 2010, assuming the right to utilize the mineral resources found in the subsoil.
The need to formalize the rules in this area emerged when Greenland's Parliament in 2013 abolished its so called "uranium zero-tolerance policy" and vouched that uranium in the future can be extracted in Greenland.
The two parties have since been working towards an agreement to ensure that the radioactive material does not end up in nuclear weapons programs or in the hands of outright terrorists.
Data shows that the rare earth elements deposit at Kvanefjeld in southwest Greenland contain more than 10 million tonnes of rare earth, as well as 260,000 tonnes of uranium.
If Greenland wants to exploit Kvanefjeld for rare earth, it is inevitable that uranium will be extracted too.
A legislative proposal on uranium exports is expected in the second half of March, according to Jensen.
Although Greenland is largely self-governed, Denmark maintains control of its foreign affairs and defense policies, and subsidizes the island's economy around 3.6 billion kroner (some 600 million U.S. dollars) a year.
Source: Xinhua News Agency
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