Greenland Mineral Resources Act

Last updated: 11 December 2023

The Mineral Resources Act, effective from 1 January 2010 and last amended in 2019 by the Greenland Parliament, sets out the rules for the exploration and exploitation of Greenland’s mineral resources. This Act ensures sustainable mineral resource activities by enforcing safety, health, and environmental standards, which include environmental and climate protection, nature conservation, and measures for compensation for environmental damage. For a minerals exploitation licence to be granted, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required, and in some instances, a Social Sustainability Assessment (SSA) as well. Sanctions for negligence and non-compliance include fines and confiscation of mineral resources.

The authority of Greenland to self-govern its domestic mineral resources was recognised in 2009 with the passing of the Self-Government Act. However, this Act did not cover the procedures resulting from Greenland’s takeover of mineral resources and activities related to them. Therefore, the Mineral Resources Act provides a comprehensive framework for the management and administration of the mineral resources sector, covering general rules and definitions related to mineral resources, including hydrocarbons and minerals other than hydrocarbons. It lays out procedures for mineral resources-related activities such as prospecting, exploration, exploitation, licences, scientific surveys, environmental protection, and environmental and social impact assessments. All regulations and policy strategies related to mineral extraction in Greenland are aligned with this Act, which also recognises the Mineral License and Safety Authority and the Environmental Agency for Mineral Resource Activities as the respective administrative authorities for mining and environmental matters related to mining activities.

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