Issues over a disputed uranium and rare earths mining project in the South part of Greenland. Supporters of the project include the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Siumut party, who believes that the mine could be an ‘economic windfall’ for Greenland, an autonomous part of Denmark, and diversify its economy from fishing. Opponents are the main opposition party, the IA: Inuit Ataqatigiit party. They are a green left of centre party. They believe that the project could harm the vast island’s unspoilt environment. There are 31 seats in parliament up for grabs.
The Guardian earlier today, 6th April 2021, commented that young Greenlanders are reconnecting with their Inuit roots and questioning Danish colonial heritage. As such, social issues and cultural identity also form part of the debate.
Greenland has 40,000 voters. Polling stations close at 8pm but current polls suggest IA are in the lead with 36% to Siumit’s 23%. Siumit has been pretty much in power in Greenland since it’s autonomy from Denmark in 1979. Neither party may get a majority and one possibility is that IA could form a coalition government with smaller parties.
The Kuannersuit mine in the south has one of the world’s largest uranium and rare earth deposits. Rare earths are a group of 17 metals that are instrumental components in technology, electronic cars and weapons. China’s recent threats to scupper global access to their rare earths makes the opening of such a mine relevant today. Erik Jensen, leader of the Siumut party, says that diversifying Greenland’s economy is important should they ever wish to seek independence from Denmark. At present, Greenland receives an annual £450 million subsidy from Denmark: one third of its total budget. Greenland have not to date been a signatory to the Paris Climate Accord as to do so would prevent the project going ahead for environmental reasons. The IA say that they will sign it, should they come to power.
Farming in the south is also an option, given that this part of the island is ice free all year round, although this would not be as profitable.