Friday, October 5, 2007

Melting ice cap brings diamond hunters and hopes of independence to Greenland

Guardian: ...The belief in Greenland's potential riches stems from the fact that the geology is identical to that found across the now ice-free north-west passage in Canada, which has led to large opencast mining in the Arctic region. But Greenland has other potential riches too. Gold has been discovered and is already being mined, although so far at a loss, and there are deposits of other minerals such as zinc, that could be exploited. Oil giants are negotiating licences to explore blocks of the coastline covering thousands of square miles.

The dash for minerals is fuelling another debate in Greenland: whether the country should go for independence from Denmark. With its 56,000 population scattered over an area almost the size of Europe, Greenland is heavily dependent on a subsidy from Denmark for survival. The island has internal self-government but Denmark is responsible for foreign policy....

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