COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The leftist opposition to a large rare mining project has become the largest in parliament after swiftly gaining more than a third of the vote in the election.
Tuesday’s election results raised doubts about the Kvanefjeld mine in the southern Arctic island and sent a clear signal to international mining companies looking to take advantage of Greenland̵7;s vast untapped mineral deposits.
The Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party gained 37 percent of the vote, compared with 26 percent in the last election four years ago, overtaking the socially democratic Siumut party, which gained 29 percent of the vote, according to official results.
The mining Siumut party has been in power most of the time since 1974. Year 1979
While not totally against mining, the IA is concerned with the environment. It has campaigned to halt the Kvanefjeld project, which, in addition to the rare earth, including neodymium, which is used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and warplanes, also contains uranium.
“This will undoubtedly hinder the development of mining in Greenland,” said Mikami Reid, Arctic lecturer at the HEC Business School in Paris.
While most Greenlanders view mining as a key route to independence, the Kvanefjeld mine has been a hotspot for years of debate that has caused deep divisions in governments and populations over environmental issues.
“It’s not that Greenlanders don’t need mining. But they don’t want dirty digging, ”Mered said, referring to uranium and rare projects.“ Greenlanders have sent a strong message that for them it is not worth sacrificing the environment for independence and independence. Economic development “
The challenges ahead
The island of 56,000, which former US President Donald Trump offered to buy in 2019, is part of the Danish Kingdom. But has broad autonomy
IA leader Mute Egede, 34, will be the first to try to form a new government. A potential government ally could be Naleraq, an independent party opposed to the Kvanefjeld scheme.
Support from Prime Minister Kim Kielsen and his ruling Siumut party helped Greenland Minerals license holders get preliminary approval for the project last year, paving the way for a hearing.
The Australian company has already spent more than $ 100 million on mine preparation and has proven its processing technology through its Chinese partner Shenghe Resources.
“The challenge for the IA is to explain to the world that Greenland remains open to business and remains an interesting mining jurisdiction,” said Dwayne Menezes, head of polar research and policy ideas in London.
Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Compiled by Andrew Heavens and Timothy Heritage.