The governments of Denmark and Greenland have confirmed the signing of a series of agreements last month setting the framework for future cooperation on foreign, defence and security policy issues related to the mining and commercial export of uranium.
On 19 January, Denmark and Greenland announced they had reached agreements concerning the export control and security of uranium and other radioactive substances from Greenland and the definition of competences in the raw materials sector.
In separate statements yesterday, the governments said that a set of four agreements had been signed specifying responsibilities and tasks between Danish and Greenland authorities in connection with possible future mining and export of uranium.
The island of Greenland introduced a zero-tolerance policy concerning the mining of uranium and other radioactive elements in 1988, while under Danish direct rule. It took a step towards greater autonomy from Denmark in 2009 with the official transition from ‘home rule’ to ‘self rule’. This saw Greenland assume full authority over its mineral and hydrocarbon rights, which had formerly been overseen by Denmark. However, Greenland remains part of the kingdom of Denmark and its defence and foreign policies are still determined by Copenhagen.
In October 2013, Greenland’s parliament voted to remove the ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, opening up the possibility for companies to begin mining uranium and rare earth minerals.
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