The Inuit Atakatigeit leader said the mining complex in Kavanefzeld would ‘not happen’ after the important event was won.
Greenland’s left-wing Inuit Atacatigit party on Wednesday vowed to oppose a huge rare-earth mining project after winning parliamentary elections for the second time in more than four decades.
Its comfortable victory cast doubt on the Cavenefzeld mining complex south of the Arctic island and sent a strong signal to international mining companies to exploit Greenland’s vast untapped mineral resources.
According to official results, Inuit Atacatigate (IA) won the last election with 37 percent of the vote, compared to 226 percent, leaving the ruling Social Democratic Party behind with 29 percent of the vote.
The Mine Proning Summit Party has been in power most of the time since Greenland gained home rule from Denmark in 1999.
Although not directly opposed to mining, the IA’s environmental focus is focused on the fact that it is used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and warplanes.
“People have spoken,” IA leader Broadcaster told DR when asked about 34-year-old leader Miu AZ Kovenefzeld. “It won’t.”
Mika Mered, an art lecturer at the HEC Business School in Paris, said of the results: “This will undoubtedly hamper the development of mining in Greenland.”
While most Greenlanders see mining as an important path to independence, the Kevenfeld mine has served as a debate for years, sowing deep divisions between the government and the public over environmental concerns.
Referring to the uranium and rare-earth project, Mered said, “Greenlanders don’t want mining, but they don’t want dirty mining,” Mered said. “Greenlanders are sending a strong message that it is not for them to sacrifice the environment for freedom and economic development.”
The challenge ahead
The island of 56,600 people, which former US President Donald Trump offered to buy in 2019, is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has extensive autonomy.
AZ, who was the natural resources minister in a coalition government from 2001 to 2018, will first try to form a new government. A potential ally of the government could be Nalerak, an independent party that also opposes the Cavanefzeld project.
The support of Prime Minister Kim Kielson and his ruling Summit party helped license-holder Greenland Minerals get initial approval of the project last year, paving the way for a public hearing.
The Australian company has already spent more than 100 100 million to prepare the mine and has demonstrated processing technology through its Chinese partner Sheng Resources.
John Meyer, chief executive of Greenland Minerals, said there was a “lack of due process” in public hearings due to the preliminary election.
“Unfortunately it has created a void that was filled with misinformation,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.
He declined to comment on the election results until a new government was formed.
“The challenge for the IA is to show the world that Greenland is still open for business and still an attractive mining jurisdiction,” said Dwayne Menezes, head of the London-based think-tank Polar Research and Policy Initiative.