GREENLAND ELECTION WORRIES MINING COMPANIES


10/04/2021




Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (France)- Greenland's left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party has won a parliamentary election for only the second time in more than 40 years. IA won 37 percent of votes, compared to 26 percent in the last election.

This has consequences for the mining industry and in particular the mining complex at Kvanefjeld in the south of the Arctic island. It sends a strong signal to international mining companies wanting to exploit Greenland’s largely untapped mineral resources.

The pro-mining Siumut party has dominated the island’s politics since 1979.

“The people have spoken,” IA leader Mute Egede, 34, told broadcaster DR when asked about Kvanefjeld. “It won’t happen.”

The party is not against all mining but has an environmentally friendly position. While most Greenlanders see mining as necessary for independence, the Kvanefjeld mine has been controversial for years, sowing deep divisions in the government and population over environmental concerns.

The Kvanefjeld site is claimed to be the world's second-largest deposit of rare-earth oxides and the sixth-largest deposit of uranium.

One rare earth oxide found there is neodymium, which is used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and combat aircraft.

There are also said to be substantial sodium fluoride deposits.

Greenland Minerals gained preliminary approval for the project last year, leading to a public consultation.

The Australian firm has already spent more than $100 million preparing the mine and has proven processing technology through its Chinese partner Shenghe Resources.

The United states has shown interest in acquiring the island first in 1867 and again in 1946 when Denmark turned down an offer of $100 million dollars. Former U.S. President Donald Trump offered to buy it in 2019. It is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has broad autonomy.

The population of 56000 is over 90% Inuit. Apart from mining it is in a strategic position in the Arctic as climate change opens up the area.

In 1982 it voted to leave the European Union.


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