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


The Guardian – October 4, 2007

While most people say that the increasing temperatures due to climate change (whether natural or man-made) will cause significant hardship for many, it appears that Greenland may get a boon from the change.

With the receding ice, many of Greenland’s natural resources are available for exploitation and the vast amount of fresh water on the large island gives them some unique opportunities for hydro-electricity as well as distribution of water.

Greenland is dependent on Denmark for its existence and this new found wealth may be the ticket that is required for them to become fully self governed.

I first read of this topic on psfk but the below comments come from its source, which is The Guardian.

As the ice cap recedes due to rising temperatures, rock covered for centuries could produce spectacular finds. The interest in the Greenland tundra was sparked partly by the announcement this year of the discovery of a 2.4-carat diamond at Garnet lake in west Greenland, the largest of 236 diamonds found in a trial dig in the area by Hudson Resources of Vancouver.

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 fueling 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.

But rather than putting her faith in mineral wealth, Mrs Hammond believes that her country’s best prospect of buying its independence lies in hydro-electricity. The vast lakes and melting ice cap provide enormous potential for electricity free from fossil fuel and the Greenland government is negotiating with Alcoa, an aluminum company, to built the world’s second largest smelter. No contract has been signed but the minister hopes this project will provide 3,500 much-needed jobs.

You can read the rest of this interesting article here.

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