Published On: Wed, Sep 26th, 2012

Global warming supporters point to Greenland’s melting, but new gems and natural resources discovered

photo/Agrant141 per wikimedia commons

A remote Arctic town new Kayak Harbour in Greenland has become ground zero in the global warming discussion as the NY Times reports icebergs “pop and hiss while melting” and claim that its “culture” is disappearing as the climate changes.

While the focus of pessimism on fishing appears to paint a dark cloud over the area, vast new deposits of minerals and gems are being discovered as Greenland’s massive ice cap recedes, forming the basis of a potentially lucrative mining industry.

”Fishing is the heart of this town,” said Hans Kaspersen, 63, a fisherman. ”Lots of people have lost their livelihoods.”

One of the world’s largest deposits of rare earth metals – essential for making mobile phones, wind turbines and electric cars – sits just outside Narsaq. This could be momentous for Greenland, which has long relied on $US500 million a year in welfare payments from Denmark, its parent state.

Mining profits could help Greenland become economically self-sufficient as the fishing industry shifts to the background and their sovereignty was provided by “global warming.”

”One of our goals is to obtain independence,” said Vittus Qujaukitsoq, a prominent union leader.

This rapid transition from a society of individual fishermen and hunters to an economy supported by corporate mining raises difficult questions.

Greenland is now enduring an influx of thousands of Polish or Chinese construction workers as the mining becomes essential to Greenland’s national identity.

”I think mining will be the future, but this is a difficult phase,” said Jens Frederiksen, Greenland’s housing and infrastructure minister and a deputy premier. ”It’s a plan that not everyone wants. It’s about traditions, the freedom of a boat, family professions.”

Greenland’s Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, charged with managing the boom, currently has 150 active licenses for mineral exploration, up from 20 a decade ago. Altogether, companies spent $100 million exploring Greenland’s deposits last year, and several are applying for licenses to begin construction on new mines, bearing gold, iron and zinc and rare earths. There are also foreign companies exploring for offshore oil.

“For me, I wouldn’t mind if the whole ice cap disappears,” said Ole Christiansen, the chief executive of NunamMinerals, Greenland’s largest homegrown mining company, as he picked his way along a proposed gold mining site up the fjord from Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. “As it melts, we’re seeing new places with very attractive geology.”


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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