Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 491

Arctic Yearbook 2014 491 Council of Greenland (2013) and The Committee for Greenlandic Mineral Resources to the Benefit of Society (2014)] – including the actual activities and known future plans of the major industrial stakeholders. Rather, the overly optimistic view substantiate skepticism: • • At the time of writing there are no active mines in Greenland. The last mine in operation, the Nalunaq goldmine near Nanortalik in South Greenland, was shut down October 31, 2013 and the remaining equipment and waste was carried away in August 2014 (Nyvold, 2014). Two projects, an iron ore project (London Mining’s Isukasia project) in the Nuuk Fiord and a gemstone project (True North Gem’s ruby project) at Qeqertarsuatsiat south of Nuuk, have exploitation licenses and both projects are in the process of raising capital. The iron ore project is a so-called ‘large scale project’ with estimated total construction costs of DKK 13 billion. The expectations for the impacts on employment and the Greenlandic economy have been significant but – supposedly not least because of decreasing world market prices – London Mining has not been successful in raising capital. Apart from seismic surveys in North East Greenland no oil exploration has been carried out in Greenland since 2010 and 2011. Cairn Energy, the most active company so far, has declared a break in their exploration activities and has closed their Greenland office in Nuuk; StatOil is focusing their activities north of Norway and ExxonMobil did not give a bid for the northeastern coast of Greenland offshore licenses and no exploration activities are announced. The strikes and exploitation of shale gas in USA and potential finds in Europe definitely contributed to the decreasing interest in more costly and environmentally risky exploration activities in Arctic – including Greenlandic – waters. Even if mining activities have not yet significantly impacted the Greenlandic society, the public debate has raised awareness on a variety of aspects of mineral extraction and has fueled a number of civil society activities and NGO initiatives. An overall driver uniting most of the political landscape has been the vision of being able to become economically self-sufficient and obtain political independency from Denmark. Furthermore a number of themes have been part of the mineral resource discourse including aspects of: • • • • • • Poppel Sustainable development: including the social, economic, environmental and cultural approaches; Democracy: for instance public participation and informed consent, transparency in the administrative procedures as well as the planning processes of the companies; Economic development: how much and under which legislative conditions and tax regimes will Greenland and its people benefit from the activities of extractive industries – and is there a risk that Greenland might be caught in the ‘resource curse’?; Labour market concerns: including necessary skills, education, mobility and the potential use of immigrant labour and risk of ‘social dumping’; Environmental protection of a pristine and vulnerable nature and living resources; Uranium mining: the political parties had for several years agreed upon a zero-tolerance on uranium mining – including mining activities were uranium was a by-product. The ban on uranium mining was lifted in the Fall 2013 with a one-vote-majority in Inatsisartut, the Greenland Parliament;