Geologists Raise Radioactivity Questions about Greenland’s Proposed Kvanefjeld Mine

Last December, Greenland’s self-rule authority, the Naalakkersuisut, greenlighted the public consultation process for Greenland Minerals AS’ project at Kuannersuit, or Kvanefjeld.

However, Anton Chackhmouradian, a professor of geology at the University of Manitoba and an expert on rare earth elements, said Greenlanders should take the company’s claims with a grain of salt, according to Radio Canada International.

The principal ore mineral at Kvanefjeld is called steenstrupine. Not only is the process of extracting rare minerals from this mineral very challenging; there is also the question about a radioactive byproduct.

According to Chackhmouradian, Steenstrupine has something like two percent of thorium, which is a very radioactive material. While uranium is Greenland Minerals’ asset, the company’s spreadsheets and data sheets contain nothing about thorium, according to him.

Based on the company's own figures, he claims the mining company will need to dispose of 3,000 tons of highly radioactive thorium.