Arctic rare earth mining prospects dealt blow by Greenland election result

Greenland’s main opposition party has won an election that was uniquely predicated on the potential development of rare earth mineral deposits by international mining companies on the Arctic island.

Indigenous party Inuit Ataqatigiit secured 37% of the votes in the general election, serving a blow to Australia’s Greenland Minerals Ltd – owner of the Kvanefjeld rare earths and uranium mine in the South of the autonomous country that is part of Denmark.

The incumbent Siumut party supported the development, arguing that it would provide hundreds of jobs and contribute to Greenland’s economic growth of several decades, which could even lead to greater independence from Denmark.

Greenland Minerals has also said that the mine has ‘the potential to become the most significant western world producer of rare earths’ – a group of 17 elements used in the manufacture of wind turbines, electronics and electric vehicles.

But many locals had raised concerns about the potential for radioactive pollution and toxic waste in the farmland surrounding the proposed mine, leading to Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to block the project.

The election result casts doubt over the future development of Greenland’s untapped rare earth deposits, which were being pursued by a suite of international mining companies and investors.