Copenhagen (Reuters)-A left-wing party that opposes large-scale rare earth mining projects has become the largest party in parliament after obtaining more than one-third of the votes in a general election.
The results of Tuesday’s general election have raised doubts about the mining complex in Kvanefjeld in the southern Arctic Island and sent a strong signal to international mining companies hoping to mine the vast untapped mineral resources of Greenland.
Official results show that the Inuit (IA) party won 37% of the vote, compared with 26% in the last election four years ago, surpassing the ruling Social Democrat Siumut party, which won 29%. vote.
Although not entirely opposed to mining, IA is still very concerned about environmental issues. It initiated a plan to stop the Kvanefjeld project, which contains uranium in addition to rare earths including neodymium (neodymium used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and fighter jets).
Mikaa Mered, Lecturer in Arctic Affairs at HEC Business School in Paris, said: “There is no doubt that this will hinder the development of the mining industry in Greenland.”
Although most Greenlanders regard mining as an important way to achieve independence, the Kvanefjeld mine has been the focus of controversy for many years, and the government and the public have caused deep differences on environmental issues.
“It’s not that Greenlanders don’t want mining, it’s that they don’t want dirty mining,” Mered said. He was referring to uranium and rare earth projects. “The Greenlanders have sent a strong message that for them, it is not worth sacrificing the environment for independence and economic development.”
Challenges for the future
The 56,000-person island that former US President Donald Trump proposed to buy in 2019 is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has extensive autonomy.
IA leader Mute Egede, 34, will be the first to try to form a new government. The potential government ally may be Narag, an independent party that also opposes the Kvanefjeld project.
The support of Prime Minister Kim Kielsen and his ruling Siumut party helped permit holder Greenland Minerals to obtain preliminary approval for the project last year, paving the way for public hearings the way.
The Australian company has spent more than US$100 million to prepare the mine and has acquired mature processing technology through its Chinese partner Shenghe Resources.
Dwayne Menezes, head of the Polar Research and Policy Initiative, a London-based think tank, said: “The challenge for IA will be to explain to the world that Greenland is still open to business and remains an attractive mining jurisdiction. Area.”
Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Timothy Heritage