The Kvanefjeld region near the town of Narsaq in southern Greenland has been known to contain elevated concentrations of uranium for several decades. The Danish government funded extensive studies to specifically evaluate potentially mineable uranium resources in the Kvanefjeld region, with most of the work undertaken in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Uranium concentrations (or grades) at Kvanefjeld are known to be in the order of 0.02 to 0.04%, and are therefore, relatively low-grade ores, and present limited danger of radiation exposure. However, to keep a precise measure of radiation exposure, all employees of Greenland Minerals and Energy undertaking work at Kvanefjeld are required to wear thermoluminescent dosimeter devices (TLD badges) that measure all exposure to radiation.
Today Kvanefjeld is recognized as much more than a potential uranium resource. Recent exploration has demonstrated that vast quantities of rock in the Kvanefjeld region are strongly enriched in Rare Earth Elements (considered as specialty metals), zinc, and sodium fluoride. Kvanefjeld could one day represent the world’s premier source of specialty metals, and, as a polymetallic, or multi-element mine, be an important source of employment in Greenland, and a major contributor to Greenland’s economy.
It should be recognized that rocks containing multi-element mineralization, including uranium, have been exposed at surface in the broader Kvanefjeld region for hundreds of thousands or potentially millions of years. The associated radiation has therefore existed as part of the natural environment long before humans first inhabited Greenland, with no apparent or known impact on local eco-systems.