Greenland’s new coalition partner won’t seek changes to uranium ban

Siumut, which hasn't opposed uranium mining, replaces the pro-independence Naleraq party in the governing coalition.

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Chairman of the Naalakkersuisut Mute B. Egede and Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speak to the media at the airport in Nuuk, Greenland on March 14, 2022. (Christian Klindt Soelbeck / Ritzau Scanpix via Reuters)

COPENHAGEN — Greenland’s social democratic Siumut party, part of a new government coalition, will not immediately seek changes to the country’s ban on uranium mining, its chairman Erik Jensen said on Monday.

Greenland’s ruling left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA) on Monday announced a government coalition, with Siumut replacing the pro-independence Naleraq party.

IA came to power a year ago on a strong environmental stance and vowing to combat acute social issues, dethroning the Siumut party, which had led every government except one since 1979.

Last year, IA banned uranium mining, effectively halting development of the Kuannersuit mine, one of the world’s biggest rare earth deposits operated by Greenland Minerals.

Siumut has not been opposed to uranium mining.

“We will not pursue this question at the present time,” Siumut’s Jensen told a news briefing when asked about changes to the uranium law.

“The uranium issue will continue on the basis that exists today, and if changes are to take place, it must be via a referendum,” he said.

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.