Greenland election shows divide over rare-earth metals mine

Greenland election shows divide over rare-earth metals mine


HELSINKI — Greenland is holding an early parliamentary election Tuesday focused in part on whether the semi-autonomous Danish territory should allow international companies to mine the sparsely populated Arctic island’s substantial deposits of rare-earth metals.

Lawmakers agreed on a snap election after the center-right Democrats pulled out of Greenland’s three-party governing coalition in February, leaving the government led by the center-left Forward party with a minority in the national assembly, the 31-seat Inatsisartut.

One of the main reasons the Democrats withdrew was a deep political divide over a proposed mining project involving uranium and rare-earth metals in southern Greenland. Supporters see the Kvanefjeld mine project as a potential source of jobs and prosperity.

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Former Prime Minister Kim Kielsen pushed to give the green light to mine owner Greenland Minerals, an Australia-based company with Chinese ownership, to start operation. Erik Jensen — Kielsen’s recent successor as Forward party leader — is opposed to granting the company a mining license.

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