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Greenland lawmakers vote in favor of removing uranium ban, paving way for rare earths mine

Greenland's parliament has voted in favor of removing a 25-year-old ban on uranium mining.

In a 15-14 vote with two absentees the parliament backed late Thursday the center-left governing coalition's desire to remove the ban.

An Australian company has estimated it could extract up to 40,000 tons or rare earth metals per year, with some uranium as by-product, from a mine on Greenland's southern tip. Rare earth elements are key ingredients in smartphones, weapons systems and other modern technologies.

Denmark's foreign trade minister, Nick Haekkerup, said Friday that the sparsely populated Arctic island alone cannot decide on uranium exports because Denmark still handles Greenland's security and foreign policy. Greenland is a semi-autonomous part of Denmark.