Arctic Yearbook 2014
Future Challenges and Opportunities
It is likely that the level of industrial activities related to natural resource and energy development is
going to increase in the future (Naalakkersuisut 2014). In recent years these activities have increased
steadily, which are likely to continue now that a construction permit has been granted to the London
Mining project on iron ore and the ban on uranium mining has been lifted, freeing the way for other
large mining projects (RT 2013). In the meantime, the oil and gas industry is continuing its
exploration activities and is likely to continue doing so in the future (Naalakkersuisut 2014).
However, when these activities will take place exactly is not certain, and currently the industry tends
to take longer before large investments in the Arctic region are decided upon. Therefore one of the
challenges for Greenland will be to educate its workforce at the right time with the right skills.
In general one can state that the expected increased industrial activities form an opportunity for
Greenland to diversify its economy and maximise the local benefits. However, both the mining and
the oil and gas industries require skilled labour with the right qualifications to work on their projects.
In order for Greenland to maximise its local benefits of these industries, the main challenge will be
to increase the level of (highly) skilled workforce that has acquired the right set of skills for these
industries. A recent study however has indicated that the shortage of a highly educated workforce
will continue to grow in the near future and last until at least 2025 (European Commission 2013).
Various initiatives, mainly revolving around the Building School, School of Minerals and Petroleum
and Centre for Arctic Technology in Sisimiut, have been taken to increase the level of skilled
workers for these industries so that the Greenlandic society will be ready to take the employment
opportunities when they arrive. Without having a critical mass of human capital in place, Greenland
will not be able to maximise the local benefits and successfully create a knowledge-based X