56,000 voters on Earth’s largest island may change global access to rare earth metals

Last month, Greenland’s coalition government collapsed amid an ongoing row over a new rare earth and uranium mine…As resource geopolitics become even more contentious, April’s snap election could be a turning point for the remote Arctic nation.

Among the lofty dramatics of geopolitics, international observers now find themselves paying attention to the operation of a tiny democracy of 56,000 people, most of it conducted in Greenlandic, and the rest in Danish…

Greenland’s status can be hard to pin down. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, free to and keen to develop further its independence from the Danes, yet constrained by its reliance on them for roughly half of its annual budget. Greenland’s citizens, mostly Inuit, are entitled to take over any of the many responsibilities currently fulfilled by Copenhagen—which include immigration, shipping, and some aspects of foreign policy—on the condition that they pick up the cost as well. Full independence is a constitutionally enshrined option, so long as it receives popular backing in a referendum…

The development of one mine site, at Kuannersuit, has had a remarkable and telling effect on Greenland’s politics in the past six months. Kuannersuit would be “the world’s second-biggest rare-earth operation and fifth-biggest uranium mine,” according to the new report. It lies less than 6 miles from the town of Narsaq, whose 1,300 inhabitants make it the country’s ninth-largest settlement. Many of them are not satisfied with plans to store radioactive waste behind a dam, or to spray the ground with water to prevent radioactive dust from spreading throughout the area.

The whole article is fascinating with shifting definitions changing by the month it seems. RTFA and get ready for the election in April.

4 thoughts on “56,000 voters on Earth’s largest island may change global access to rare earth metals

  1. Kalaallit says:

    “How the Pentagon Countered China’s Designs on Greenland : Washington urged Denmark to finance airports that Chinese aimed to build on North America’s doorstep” (2/10/19) https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-pentagon-countered-chinas-designs-on-greenland-11549812296?mod=article_inline
    President Trump Eyes a New Real-Estate Purchase: Greenland (816/19) https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-eyes-a-new-real-estate-purchase-greenland-11565904223
    “After Trump tried to buy Greenland, US gives island $12M for economic development” (4/23/20) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-buy-greenland-us-island-12m-economic-development/story?id=70305163

  2. Update says:

    Opposition Wins Elections In Greenland, Casting Doubt On Future Of Rare-Earth Mine https://www.npr.org/2021/04/07/985046099/opposition-wins-elections-in-greenland-casting-doubt-on-future-of-rare-earth-min
    At the heart of the election was a proposed international mining project by Greenland Minerals, an Australia-based company with Chinese ownership, which is seeking a license to operate the Kvanefjeld mine in southern Greenland.
    Apart from uranium, estimates show the Kvanefjeld mine could hold the largest deposit of rare-earth metals outside China, which currently accounts for more than 90% of global production, and that has led to international interest in Greenland’s natural resources.
    While the Forward party has taken a cautiously positive stance on the mining project, Community of the People’s Chairman Mute Egede, a 34-year-old native of Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, reiterated Wednesday that his party’s opposition to the project and urged it to be stopped for environmental reasons.
    “We must listen to the voters who are worried. We say no to uranium mining,” Egede said in a statement to KNR. https://apnews.com/article/legislature-greenland-elections-europe-parliamentary-elections-d6a1dc76fd981b1aaa5abcf587eadfa2

    • Update says:

      GM Will Suck Lithium From the Salton Sea to Make Batteries : The process will have a lower environmental impact than traditional lithium mining. https://www.autoweek.com/news/green-cars/a37029490/gm-will-suck-lithium-from-the-salton-sea-to-make-batteries/
      “Right now, most lithium comes from Australia—51,000 tons of it in 2019. Second-highest producer of lithium is Chile with 16,000 tons. The list drops off precipitously from there. But the world is going to need a lot more very soon, especially carmakers such as GM, which, along with many if not most of the world’s carmakers has pledged to go all-EV very soon, GM by 2035.
      The California Energy Commission’s estimate that the Salton Sea area could produce 600,000 tons of lithium per year, which is amazing since the entire world’s industry produced a mere 85,000 tons of lithium in all of 2019.
      Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power project https://www.cthermal.com/

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