MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Greenland: locals demand banishing foreign miner

Published by MAC on 2019-09-21
Source: Urani Naamik

At last, Greenland's government has severely  criticised a mining outfit  for undermining its environmental standards.

It's an Australian firm that, according to Forbes magazine, was involved in canvassing support for Donald Trump's grossly offensive offer to buy the country itself [See: Catastrophe faces Arctic ].

An indigenous organisation has called on Greenland to cancel the project.

PRESS RELEASE

Urani Naamik Society

Narsaq, Nuuk, Copenhagen and Aarhus

20 September 2019

The Owner of the Kvanefjeld Mining Project Undermines Greenland’s
Environmental Standards

According to Greenland’s Ministry of Nature and Government, the
Australian mining company Greenland Minerals Ltd. (GML), owner of the
large Kvanefjeld rare earth elements and uranium mining project, has
systematically undermined Greenland’s environmental standards. In
addition to misinforming the authorities, GML has failed to comply with
requests and instructions to correct and supplement its environmental
impact assessment (EIA) draft reports. Among other things, there is
still no plan for or a description of the embankment structures in the
tailings facility or an assessment of the earthquake risk in the region.

Considering that it will never meet Greenland’s Mineral Resources Act’s
environmental and climate requirements, the time has come to stop the
mining project.

In a decision aimed at GML’s Managing Director, John Mair, and co-signed
by Greenland’s Prime Minister, Kim Kielsen, and The Department of Nature
and Environment’s Permanent Secretary, Mette Skarregaard Pedersen, the
authorities have rejected a complaint by GML about the length of the EIA
review process.

In the decision, it is established that GML frequently has contacted
high-ranking civil servants and ministers who have no competence within
the EIA review process and that these contacts seek to undermine the
authority of the decisions of The Environmental Agency for Mineral
Resources Activities (EAMRA). The government finds that this behaviour
is unacceptable and requests GML to abstain from this practice.

The decision is in accordance with observations by the international
business magazine Forbes. According to Forbes, GML has been involved
in the process that led to the Trump administration’s offer to buy
Greenland.

”GML’s complaint is an attempt to undermine the EIA process by
political pressure”, says Mariane Paviasen from the URANI NAAMIK
Society in Narsaq. “It is not the first time that GML tries to
manipulate and disregard the rules that apply to everybody else. One has
to ask, if the mining company behaves that way now, how will it behave
if it gets to be in charge of the potentially most polluting industrial
project in the history of Greenland and the Danish Kingdom?”

On June 17th , GML submitted its application for a mining license
together with the fourth and according to GML final EIA draft report to
the authorities. The three previous drafts have all been rejected
because of lack of documentation. The timing of the submission is
surprising, considering that EAMRA has identified a series of issues
that has not been sufficiently dealt with.

“Considering that there is no real difference between the latest and
the earlier EIA draft reports, criticism from the green NGOs remains
unaffected”, says Mikkel Myrup from Avataq, Greenland’s Nature and
Environment Association. “In 2017, at our request, Jan Willem Storm van
Leeuwen published an analysis of GML’s first draft report. He is an
expert in technology assessment and life cycle analyses of energy
systems in the Netherlands. The analysis is still relevant”.

“We already know that GML’s final EIA draft report does not
meet Greenland’s Mineral Resources Act’s environmental and climate
requirements”, says Hans Pedersen from SustainableEnergy. “Now as
before, there is no plan for or description of the embankment structures
in the tailings facility or assessments of the earthquake risk in the
region. The lack of documentation has been confirmed by EAMRA as well
as an independent Austrian expert. He is the head of an engineering
office, which among other things deals with the assessment of the
stability of dam structures. Furthermore, the report does not
realistically take into consideration//that the mining project is
located near the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project
threatens the integrity of the site”.

 

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