Greenland’s melting ice offers new mining opportunities, could fuel independence bid
Even while Greenland’s melting ice is slowly destroying the viability of subsistence hunting, it offers new economic opportunities that could ultimately fund the island country’s bid for independence from Denmark. Diamond hunters from North America have been coming to Greenland to search for the precious stones in rock uncovered by glacial retreat. Melting ice offers new opportunities for hydroelectric power. Gold found recently is already being mined. The government is in talks with aluminum giant Alcoa to build the world’s second-largest smelter in the country. And oil companies are vying to drill off Greenland’s expansive coastline. The country achieved a measure of independence with its successful push for self-governance in 1979, but Denmark still handles defense and foreign policy and sends much-needed funds. Yet if Greenland’s mining rush could effectively displace those funds, the country’s population of about 56,000 has a shot at full independence.