Last month, just over half of Greenland’s 57,000 residents participated in general elections for national offices. The social democratic Siumut party won with 43 percent of the vote, beating the ruling socialist Inuit Ataqatigiit party by 9 percent. Siumut’s leader, Aleqa Hammond, became the country’s first female prime minister. Both parties ran on pro-mining platforms, but Hammond won voters over by promising to lift a ban on extracting uranium and to force companies to pay larger royalties to the government.
What’s the Big Idea?
Greenland has long been home to vast resources of minerals, including rare earth metals commonly used in electronic devices. However, many of those minerals are combined with uranium. Additionally, with the melting of the ice cap, more resources are becoming available for mining. Currently China dominates the rare earth market, but has recently restricted its exports, causing a corresponding rise in prices. If, as Hammond promises, the ban on extracting uranium is lifted, Greenland could become an alternative source for materials that will help manufacturers meet increasing product demand in coming years.