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Kuannersuit – a uranium project in South Greenland (Kalaallisuua nutserneqarpoq)
Kuannersuit is a mountain eight kilometres Northeast of the small town Narsaq in South Greenland.
After the municipality reform in 2008, the former municipalities Nanortalik, Narsaq and Qaqortoq merged in the municipality Kommune Kujalleq January 1, 2009.
Uranium was found in the Kuannersuit Mountain in 1956 and has since been geologically mapped and measured. In the period 1958-1981 the Danish state extracted uranium in Kuannersuit, and in 1962 it was taken 180 tonnes of ore and 1979-81 4,700 tonnes.
In 1988 the so-called zero tolerance was introduced, which meant that no mineral extraction could take place, if accompanied with occurrences of uranium. In the election campaign to the Inatsisartut (parliament) in 2013, there were two opposing views for and against the termination of the zero tolerance. The majority, that wanted to abolish the zero tolerance won the election, and by a majority of one in the Inatsisartut the zero tolerance was lifted in October the same year.
The arguments for the abolition of the zero tolerance is clear and unambiguous, the creation of new jobs and increased export earnings. The argument against the repeal is likewise clear, the problem of waste, foreign labour and social problems.
ICC Greenland followed the debate in the media and found that in Narsaq and more generally in the municipality of Kommune Kujalleq are shared views on a future exploitation. It is also found that many people feel they do not receive the information necessary to conduct qualified opinion to the mining project on Kuannersuit.
The project ‘Better citizen involvement on Kuannersuit’ was granted DKK 250,000 by the Premier’s Office, and to undertake the investigation project, ICC Greenland hired Eskimologist Mads Fægteborg and Mia Olsen Siegstad, BA in social sciences.
The study was undertaken during a three week visit to Kommune Kujalleq in the fall of 2015, and the results were published in the report ‘Ajorpoq – vi får ingen svar’ in the beginning of 2016. The report concludes that both groups, those for and those against the mining project at Kuannersuit expressed that they needed more information on the project.
The report ‘Ajorpoq – vi får ingen svar’ is in Danish, but has a six pages English resume.