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IAEA Director General Visits Copenhagen and Greenland

Director General Amano is briefed on Kvanefjeld mining project during his visit to Greenland. (Photo: C. Brady/IAEA)

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano commended the authorities of Greenland for their robust safety and security preparatory work for a possible rare earth and uranium mine that is under consideration, during a visit this week.

The Director General visited the Kvanefjeld site with Greenland’s Prime Minister, Mr Kim Kielsen.

Greenland is considering building a rare earth elements mine at Kvanefjeld, in the south, a project that could help Greenland diversify its economy. The project is currently going through a definitive feasibility study and environmental impact assessment. The mine will also produce zinc, lithium and uranium. The IAEA has been cooperating with the authorities of Denmark and Greenland on the project, and conducted a workshop on uranium production in Copenhagen at Denmark’s request in 2014, which covered issues pertaining to this field, including international safety and security standards and requirements.

“Protection of the public and the environment in uranium mining is crucial,” Mr Amano said. “I am pleased to learn that the authorities of Greenland have been working hard with the safety and security preparations for the possible mining operations.”

Extracted uranium can be used as fuel for nuclear power plants, as well as research reactors. For the process and implementation to be effectively controlled and monitored, stringent regulatory oversight and industrial best practices during the uranium mining project must be followed, said Mr Amano.

Mr Amano also met with members of Government in the Southern Municipality in Greenland, as well as industry representatives from Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited.

In Copenhagen, Mr Amano met with the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Anders Samuelsen, with whom he discussed cooperation between the IAEA, Denmark and Greenland in relation to the Kvanefjeld project, as well as wider international issues. Mr Amano also met with members of the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and officials from the Danish Emergency Management Agency and Danish Health Authority.

Mr Amano ended his visit with a speech on Reflections on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

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