Greenland’s left-wing environment party, Inuit Attackatijit, scored a general election victory on Tuesday after a campaign against the development of a controversial rare earth mine with partial support from China.
The party that was in opposition, He won 37 percent From voting for long-term incumbents, center-left Syomot. Environmentalists will need to negotiate a coalition to form a government, but observers said their election victory in Greenland, a semi-autonomous region of Denmark located on a rich vein of untapped uranium and rare earth minerals, indicated voters’ concerns about the impact of mining.
“People have talked,” said Met Bi Iggy, Inuit leader Attagatgate, Danish broadcaster Dr.Adding that voters made clear their position and that the mining project in Caveenfeld, in the south of the country, would stop.
The Australian company, Greenland Minerals, responsible for the project, said the mine had “the potential to become the most important Western producer of rare earths”, adding that it would create uranium as a byproduct. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the vote.
Supplying Rare earthsIt is an important part of the high-tech global supply chain used to manufacture everything from cell phones to rechargeable batteries, it is currently dominated by China. Shenghe Resources, a Chinese rare earths company, owns 11% of Greenland Minerals.
The opposition of the Greenland mine, which the incumbent Siumut party supported, played a major role in its defeat, its leader, Eric Jensen, admitted in an interview with Danish station TV2.
The mining project has been under development for years, with government approval for drilling for research, but final approval for the mine has yet to be issued.
Dwayne Menezes, director of the Polar Research and Policy Initiative, a London-based think-tank, said opposition to the mine has grown among Greenlanders because of the potential exposure to a unique and fragile area “to radioactive pollution and toxic waste.” “What they are against is dirty mining.”
Menezes added that the election result sent a clear message: Mining companies wishing to access Greenland deposits must adhere to stringent environmental standards and look to give Greenlanders a “viable alternative.”
In Greenland, whose economy relies heavily on Denmark’s payments, tensions around the mine have centered on potential economic boon, including hundreds of jobs on an island of about 57,000 people, against the environmental cost of doing business.
But the vote also highlighted the growing geopolitical importance of the Arctic on a warming planet The polar seas are becoming more navigable And as the melting of ice reveals newly accessible resources, including rare earth elements that play a fundamental role in the production of many alternative energy sources.
“At the global level, we will need to address this tension between indigenous communities and the materials we so badly need for a planet with climate stress,” said Amy Bollanger, Executive Director of the Responsible Mining Initiative. Guarantee, non-profit organization.
Given China’s dominance in the world’s rare earth production and supply, Mr. Menezes said Western countries should look for ways to strengthen their partnerships with resource-rich Greenland to keep them in their “sphere of influence.”
Two years ago, Greenland’s lucrative resources and growing strategic importance prompted President Donald J Trump to think about it Purchase The island. But the Greenland government has made it clear that it is not for sale.
“We are open for business, not for sale,” the island’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Post on Twitter on time.