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GME conducts 12 dialogue meetings
Questions about safety, health and jobs raised at public meetings in South Greenland
Citizens all over southern Greenland have been invited to dialogue meetings with Greenland Minerals and Energy A/S in recent months. In late August, GME held meetings with residents of eight South Greenland settlements, and earlier this summer, there were public meetings in Narsaq, Nanortalik and Qaqortoq.
Impact on environment and health were among the key issues raised by participants in the town hall meetings where GME's Managing Director, Shaun Bunn, GME’s Exploration Director Jeremy Whybrow and Operations Manager Ib Laursen briefed on the plans for a mine at Kvanefjeld. Through years of exploration, which produced approximately 75 km worth of drill samples GME have documented that Kvanefjeld contains one of the world's largest deposits of rare earths minerals as well as significant quantities of uranium.
Participants at GME's public meeting in Narsarsuaq
Dust and radiation
The distance from the open mine on Kvanefjeld to Narsaq will be ten kilometers as the crow flies, and among the recurring question during the dialogue sessions was the risk of dust contamination. GME 's representatives explained how modern methods of dust suppression when blasting eliminates the risk of adverse effects in Narsaq. The subsequent crushing of rocks takes place in sealed buildings. Among the security mechanisms to be established will be a permament measuring of dust levels and radioactivity in Narsaq and elsewhere in the environment, so that mine explosions can be postponed in the event of extreme wind conditions.
Also the risk of increased emissions of radon from the ground was raised at several meetings. Here the response of GME was that radon levels are not affected by the mine. Residues (tailings) from the mine - after the ore is crushed and concentrated - will be stored and covered with water to prevent the release of radon.
Health risks both for future miners and the people of Narsaq were discussed during the dialogue sessions where a number of questions were asked. GME 's Shaun Bunn and Ib Laursen explained that the level of radioactivity at Kvanefjeld will not be increased because of the mine. The radiation level that you are exposed to by staying at Kvanefjeld today, is not increased by extraction. Upcoming miners at Kvanefjeld will be exposed to less radiation than, say, pilots and flight attendants, the GME representitives stressed at the meetings.
Many questions were raised at the meeting in Tasiusaq
Jobs for Greenlandic speaking
The prospect of jobs in the mine at Kvanefjeld was discussed at most meetings. Do you have to be bilingual? Is it necessary to speak English? Is it possible to work in the mine, if you live in a village far from mine?, were frequently asked questions.
GME assured at the meetings that also Greenlandic speaking can work in Kvanefjeld. The company has already trained several Greenlandic speaking as foreman and given them training in mine-English - and plan to intensify this program, if the Government gives GME mining permission. In collaboration with the language school in Sisimiut the Kujalleq Municipality already offers a number of courses in mining-English, and to attend these courses is a great opportunity to prepare for a future job at Kvanefjeld.
Not all jobs in the mine will be filled by workers from Narsaq. GME predicts that also part of the local staff will come from elsewhere in South Greenland - or from other parts of Greenland. They will - like the specialists from abroad - be accommodated and alternately work on Kvanefjeld a few weeks and have a few weeks at home.
GME held dialogue meetings in Narsaq, Qaqortoq and Nuuk in the early summer. In late August public meetings took place in the eight South Greenland settlements Aappilattoq, Narsarmiit, Tasiusaq, Alluitsup Paa, Ammassivik, Eqalugaarsuit, Saarloq and Narsarsuaq.