The Greenlandic parliament has just passed legislation that will ban research, exploration and processing of uranium ore in Greenland (warning: this link is in Danish). It had been banned previously too, but in 2013 the then-ruling parties, Siumut and Atassut, narrowly overturned the ban by a majority of one.
Greenland now has a left-leaning government, and the two coalition parties, Inuit Ataqatigiit and Naleraq, upheld an election promise from April and banned it again. But the issue has been hotly debated, and of the 26 present, 12 voted for the ban, 9 voted against and 5 abstained. Atassut called for a referendum on the issue but this was rejected.
Radioactive materials are found widely in Greenland, and those opposing the ban said that it might hinder the mining of other useful radioactive minerals such as thorium. If exploration or exploitation is directed at a mineral other than uranium, the average uranium content must not exceed 100 g per tonne, or 100 ppm.
This could have ramifications, opponents of the ban fear. For instance, the Australian-owned Greenland Minerals Kuannersuit mine in South Greenland, which contains a large deposit of rare earth minerals but is situated close to the town of Narsaq, the ore contains about 300 ppm of uranium.
The new legislation would put a stop to this development.