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Greenland Repeals Radioactive Mining Ban 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-ain't-easy-being-greenland dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to the International Resource Journal, 'Greenland has voted to axe a long-enduring ban on mining for radioactive materials, reopening the market to uranium and rare earths mining. Yesterday's parliamentary vote passed the decision by a staggeringly close 15-14 votes. ... The ban has previously prevented the extraction of some major rare earth deposits, because they are connected to radioactive materials.' 95% of the world's rare-earth demand is currently supplied by China, but estimates indicate Greenland could produce enough to supply 25% of the demand. Greenland's Prime Minister said the decision was made because of financial reasons: 'We cannot live with unemployment and cost of living increases while our economy is at a standstill. It is therefore necessary that we eliminate zero tolerance towards uranium now.' Environmental groups, as you might expect, are not happy."
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Greenland Repeals Radioactive Mining Ban

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  • About bloody time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by war4peace (1628283) on Friday October 25, 2013 @03:10PM (#45238501)

    Resources exist to be exploited, albeit not indiscriminately. Zero tolerance ban is just as bad as gung-ho mining, they're both extremes of what otherwise should be "sensible mining".

    • Or to jump start the economy ""We cannot live with unemployment and cost-of-living increases while our economy is at a standstill. It is therefore necessary that we eliminate zero tolerance towards uranium now," Greenland's prime minister, Aleqa Hammond, was quoted as saying by local newspaper Sermitsiaq during the debate." VIA http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/25/greenland-green-light-uranium-rare-earths-mining [theguardian.com]
    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      well beats exploiting pensioners in the EU and reneging on your debts eh :-)
    • I don't think anyone would disagree, I think the issue is probably a matter of which resources are valued higher: minerals in the ground or the ground above being pretty and useful for other things in the next few centuries.
    • Resources exist to be exploited, albeit not indiscriminately.

      So... you're a theist?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will NEVER be 'happy'. So you can pretty much ignore them.

    • *where "environmental groups" includes nutbag organizations like Greenpeace.**

      **Which is always, apparently :-(

    • The job of environmental groups is to never be happy, and that's fine. Let them present their best case against everything. Somebody needs to. When their best case isn't good enough, as here, then of course you go ahead with the project despite them. Certainly don't ignore them though.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday October 25, 2013 @03:17PM (#45238607) Homepage

    ... could arrange a couple billion dollars donation every year to the Greenland government to bring the bans back.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 25, 2013 @03:18PM (#45238625)

      Maybe they could create some of those "green jobs" we're always hearing about.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        They tried that in Greece, how's that economy doing these days anyway?

        • by Zynder (2773551)
          Regardless of how great Greece's economy may or may not be doing at this time, I don't think you can pin all of that on "green" jobs running amok. That's quite a claim you're making. Care to back it up?
        • Ask Germany
          • by onyxruby (118189)

            Germany's green jobs are very heavily subsidized by the government. Jobs are certainly being created, however the cost is enormous [csmonitor.com] to their economy. The latest figures show Germany has spent over $130 Billion dollars for 6000 green jobs. That is a cool $20 million [notrickszone.com] per job created. Each consumer subsidizes these jobs to the tune of an extra $260 [slate.com] per year making German electricity among the most expensive in the world. To quote that hard core leftist site Slate

            Moreover, this sizeable investment does remarkabl

    • Please don't give them ideas. They will "arrange" by lobbying for a "Keep Greenland Green" tax to be paid by the rest of the world to collect those billions.

  • Hazaa! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Friday October 25, 2013 @03:23PM (#45238679)

    A country repealing environmental regulation made for a mythical world and replacing it for real world environmental concerns. The current process of mining rare earths in China is horrendously bad for the environment, however because of Greenpeace inspired laws almost no else would do it. Rare earths aren't rare, but environmental laws that actually have anything to do with the environment are.

    It's time to put the rest of the Greenpeace inspired FUD laws about radiation and all other things nuclear out to the FUD farm where they belong. The laws were written for one purpose only, and that was to prevent anything relating to nuclear from ever being viable. It's idiots like these why an MRI doesn't use nuclear in the name even though that is what the technology is based on.

    It's like the opposition to any form of Nuclear power or gas power plant, the net real world result was that for decades we built coal power plants instead. It's time to replace fear mongering with science and start to look out for the environment instead. Nuclear energy is the greenest form of energy we have, and it will remain so until Fusion is up and running.

    • Could all have been a loooong hazaa! As to this decision, Greenland was relatively unspoiled and few things spoil a country quicker than strip mining.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Coal has killed far more people than all nuclear events - accidental and intentional - combined. By a factor of 1.000.000.

        Idiot.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Why mark parent as troll? He's right (other than the "idiot" remark).

          I'd love to see Thorium replace Uranium as a fuel source but I'd prefer to see the Gen. 1 and 2 nuclear reactors replaced with newer (safer) reactors instead of Greenpeace tarring everything with the same brush scaring the populace and leaving us with reactors past their best before date.

          Instead of bitching here, how about working towards educating everybody with regards to the pros and cons of each and every option available to us? We nee

        • by wijnands (874114)
          I'd rather you'd keep your playground attitude of name calling to yourself. Nuclear energy is, theoretically, clean and safe. However in practice it's proven to be far less so. An coal pollution will be greatly reduced in a few hunderd years. Radiation tends to stick around for a much longer time. If we go into "I'd rather" mode. I'd rather see we stabilize our population growth and start taking our energy production seriously whereby effect on the planet is leading over quick profit. Let's see about hydr
      • by rubycodez (864176)

        there are other ways to mine uranium than strip mining. they don't have to do things the American (numb from the neck up) way

      • by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Friday October 25, 2013 @03:53PM (#45238995)

        Wow, your going to go there, you picked about the worst cases you could. I could bother doing the same thing with coal and quickly show far worse pollution and death figures, but you can google that all by yourself. So let's take your worst case scenario and run with it (you have researched these things, right?). How many people were killed in these or all other nuclear related incidents? How much actual damage was done?

        Now compare those numbers to your favorite form of green energy, how about windmills [yale.edu]? Go on, google this and tell me how it compares. Why don't you compare pollution figures while your at it. Remember your windmills require the very [columbia.edu] rare earths that come from these types of mines.

        Okay, now that you've bothered to do a bit of research scale your numbers of for world wide power and tell me what they would look like. You see, if strip mining is done in a place like Greenland they will bother with these pesky things called environment regulations. The Chinese don't do that and as a result they have cornered the market. You can't get rare earths from Unicorn farts and rainbows, you have to get them out of the ground. Better we do the mining, so that it can be done responsibly [time.com].

      • by Lendrick (314723)

        In the long term, putting megatons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is far more damaging than nuclear. At least with nuclear power, the accidents are localized. If we fuck up our atmosphere with too much CO2, the consequences will be global.

    • The current process of mining rare earths in China is horrendously bad for the environment, however because of Greenpeace inspired laws almost no else would do it. Rare earths aren't rare, but environmental laws that actually have anything to do with the environment are.

      Why didn't Greenland just amend the legislation to remove rare earths from the ban? Or put in place a gradual effort to also mine uranium?

      My guess: Rare Earths are a red herring. The real issue is uranium mining, which would have never passed, but because of "rare earths" and "scary China" and "jobs!!!" the extraction industry got exactly what they wanted - sensible sounding repeal, hiding their intentions to pull up lucrative but environmentally damaging uranium mining.

      Look for massive contributions to r

      • by cusco (717999)

        The rare earths and the uranium occur together. No reason to not extract both. Red herrings aren't necessary.

      • The many pristine forests and gentle grasslands of Greenland will never be the same.
    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      FUD laws about radiation and all other things nuclear out to the FUD farm where they belong.

      I know it's the popular internet "groupthink" to assume radiation poisoning/fallout/exposure is all BS because independent studies [theage.com.au] on the Fukishama disaster show nobody has died from it. A word of caution: radiation induced cancers can take a long time to develop [wikipedia.org]. 40 years in some cases. That's long enough to completely screw up the planet for the course of your lifetime and many of your descendents lifetimes. Nuclear energy's biggest problem is that it leaves no room for error - and humans are full of e

    • The current process of mining rare earths in China is horrendously bad for the environment, however because of Greenpeace inspired laws almost no else would do it.

      The Mountain Pass mine in California produced a majority of the world's rare earth minerals in the 80s. Then China got into the game and since they didn't have the added costs associated with environmental or worker safety regulations, they undercut the price of every other mine and put them out of business.

      Since China started limiting exports of their rare earth elements, the Mountain Pass mine is being reopened. I drove past it last week and there are at least 100 cars in the parking lot. It's on the n

      • by onyxruby (118189)

        I had heard they were trying to reopen it, but haven't heard it was successful. It's a good step in the right direction for components that are vitally necessary for modern society. Hopefully this time they wont be shut down as easily by price competition from Chinese companies that don't have to worry about environmental regulations.

    • Double Hazaa! (Score:3, Informative)

      ON RARE EARTH ELEMENTS

      A Rare Earth Element revival in the United States could help to bring industry and real manufacturing back to our shores. It goes right along with the promise of Thorium to satisfy all grid and process heat requirements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG1YjDdI_c8 [youtube.com]

      Here Stephen Boyd tells us what "rare earth elements" are, and why they are vital to modern technology: He is incredibly hyper and excited about them, as you should be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J16IpITWBQ8 [youtube.com]

      While everyone

  • We're locusts. We exhaust the available resources until they are no more.

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      bullshit, we're not close to exhausting anything. not helium, not fossil fuel, not "rare earths".

    • by fa2k (881632)

      Meh, all life uses resources. Humans are just so damn adaptable that they haven't reached an equilibrium (just like what happens temporarily with locust swarms). It's all going to stabilise

  • Whoa whoa whoa... hold on...

    Greenland has a prime minister and a parliament?

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Friday October 25, 2013 @03:40PM (#45238867)
    "Do you want me to send you back to where you WERE? UNEMPLOOOOOYED IN GREEEEENLAND [youtube.com]???!!!"
  • Sorry, no stagger. Where I come from a staggeringy close vote is something like 14.6-14.4.

    Yesterday's parliamentary vote passed the decision by a staggeringly close 15-14 votes.

    • Spelling nazi aside, where is it that you're from where you use don't use 1 as the statistical unit of measurement for counting votes? I guess you could have 73-72, and divide by 5, but that's still a 1 unit deviation. 1/29 does carry more weight than 1/145, but either way, both are quite close. Although I'm not sure what statistical unit you were using in "14.6-14.4," but compared with "15-14," one vote is the most minimal statistical unit that can be used to express the data. The usage of staggeringly see

  • by rgbatduke (1231380) <rgb.phy@duke@edu> on Friday October 25, 2013 @04:00PM (#45239099) Homepage

    ...and open up thorium mining in the western part of the state, ideally while pushing hard for LFTR or other thorium based meltdown proof non-pressurized-vessel nuclear. NC alone could supply the entire energy needs of the US for the next 17,000 years, according to one assessment I've read, while yes, producing lots of rare-earth metals. Currently they don't mine the rare earths because the admixed Thorium is viewed as toxic waste!

    Yeah, the most valuable toxic waste in the world.

    rgb

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by cusco (717999)

      If you think the rare earth mines in China are environmentally bad, just imagine how bad that operation would be run in North Carolina.

  • Users (Score:4, Funny)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday October 25, 2013 @05:12PM (#45239781)

    Environmental groups, as you might expect, are not happy."

    Probably posting about it on the lithium battery powered laptops or phones.

    • by mirix (1649853)

      Lithium ion cells don't have rare earths in them, that I'm aware of.

      NiMH does use them, though. Ain't seen a laptop or phone with NiMH cells in a long time...

  • Anyone who has ever looked at a Mercator projection map knows that Greenland is about the same size as the entire continent of Africa, so it's about time they contributed proportionately to the global economy. ;-)
  • by trout007 (975317) on Friday October 25, 2013 @08:16PM (#45241585)

    Nature has deposited all of these radioactive toxic chemicals all over the place. Mining is just cleaning up this mess by taking the material out of the ground to purify the ground.

  • See, this is why any kind of conservation efforts will fail in the long-term; humanity will, in the end, strip the face of the planet entirely bare. When things get a little tough we'll always raze a forest, mountain, or species to feed ourselves and our kids for a couple months longer. Broadly similar to personal data at a company: no matter what promises they made early on, when the company starts to go down the drain they'll whore out that data in a last-ditch attempt at monetization of everything they h

  • The Chinese will move in like they did in Africa, bring in all the high and mid level people, import some cheap labor to supplement the local labor pool, then take all the profits back to Beijing. Cue Greenlandian outrage on 10-20 years.

  • I'm more surprised there's people living in Greenland!

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