Greenlanders return home as flooding alert lifted

People in the village of Innaarsuit in western Greenland are to return to their homes after the lifting of a tsunami alert caused by a large iceberg.

Greenlanders return home as flooding alert lifted
A satellite image showing icebergs off Innaarsuit on July 9th. Photo: esa via AP/Ritzau Scanpix

Shops in the Arctic village will also return to normal trade, Greenland Police said.

An enormous iceberg passed close to the coast last week, and authorities were concerned that the village could be flooded by resultant waves.

33 of the 169 people who live in the Arctic settlement were evacuated and the local supermarket, fish packing factory and power station were closed.

But the danger alert was lifted by authorities on Wednesday.

The iceberg has now cleaved, making it smaller and thereby less dangerous.

It currently lies around 500-600 metres north of the village, with a cliff face offering further protection.

“But the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) recommends keeping an eye on the situation and notifying of any major changes,” Greenland Police wrote in a statement.

Children and the elderly remain advised to stay clear of the coast, while dogs must not be tied up within 10 metres of the sea.

Last year, an earthquake off the coast off Greenland caused a tsunami to hit the village of Nuugaatsiaq. Four people lost their lives in the disaster, and the village and neighbouring Illorsuit remain empty due to fears of a new earthquake.

READ ALSO: Huge iceberg near Greenland village sparks flooding fears


Greenland passes law banning uranium mining

Greenland's parliament voted Tuesday to ban uranium mining and exploration in the vast Danish territory, following through on a campaign promise from the ruling left-wing party which was elected earlier this year.

Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement.
Greenland's parliament voted on November 9th to ban uranium mining. Prime Minister Mute Egede, pictured, said earlier this month he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement. File photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won snap elections in April that were originally triggered by divisions over a controversial uranium and rare earth mining project.

The IA won 12 seats in the 31-seat Greenlandic national assembly, beating its rival Siumut, a social democratic party that had dominated politics in the island territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

On Tuesday 12 MPs in the national assembly voted to ban uranium mining, with nine voting against. 

The IA had campaigned against exploiting the Kuannersuit deposit, which is located in fjords in the island’s south and is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals.

The project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has not yet been officially abandoned.

But French group Orano announced in May it would not launch exploration despite holding permits to do so.

The massive natural riches of the vast island — measuring two million square kilometres, making it larger than Mexico — have been eyed by many, but few projects have been approved.

The island is currently home to two mines: one for anorthosite, whose deposits contain titanium, and one for rubies and pink sapphires.

While Greenland’s local government is not opposed to all mining activities, it has also banned all oil exploration over concerns for the climate and the environment.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Mute Egede said he wanted to join the Paris climate agreement, which Greenland is one of the few countries not to have ratified.

READ ALSO: Greenland seabed scoured for marine diamonds