Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 262

262 Arctic Yearbook 2014 and engagements of relevant Greenlandic actors and local communities in sustainable development. Here especially the local communities have been left behind. Mining and the Use of Local Workforce Greenland has, through a long period of time, built a work force capable of running core parts of the country’s infrastructure and maintenance activities. This has been the result of the governmentfunded basic education system in combination with vocational training and a still small system of professional education for teachers at the university in Nuuk, and the Arctic engineering education in Sisimiut. The vocational training comprised of education provided by infrastructure companies like Royal Arctic Line and Air Greenland in combination with a number of specialized technical schools have provided skilled craftsmen to Greenland, recently supplemented by courses in mining. Though the recently opened mining school in Sisimiut is providing training for miners, the specialized knowledge needed at all levels to run a mining operation is scarce and not currently provided. This is not just a problem for Greenland, as mining operations generally are organized based on global work practices and with a high degree of migrant workers that seem to accept long working hours and a high degree of isolation in temporary barrack accommodations. The needed workforce competencies and skills are not just related to the technical skills of the workforce but as well to the workers’ adaptation to the specific social conditions that mining activities share with other ‘remote’ and not settled types of technical work like the building of railroads, bridges, pipelines, oilfields etc. Only a few of the current, potential mining sites are directly connected to existing settlements. This supports an often used strategy by mining companies calculating capacity, extraction periods, and the subsequent closing of the activities while balancing the cost of equipment and the development of market price for the minerals in question. The size of the workforce is seen as secondary. This results in the so-called fly-in-fly-out operations based on the use of migrants or emigrant labour accommodated in boarded, temporary accommodations at the mine itself, interrupted by shorter furloughs at home. Intensive periods of work - 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week - are typical for this type of work organization. Experiences from Mining in Greenland Experiences with this type of work organization are not particularly positive in Greenland. From 1972 to 1980 the Canadian (and later Swedish) mining company Greenex operated the zinc and lead mine Marmorilik in the Uummannaq district (Nordregio 2009:12). The shifts were organized as 14 days of work followed by 14 days off (ibid: 13). Approximately 15% of the workers were born in Greenland. (Dahl 1977: 6; Nordregion 2009: 15) An illustration of how Marmorilik was a special community was the percentage of women, which during the period from 1992-1997 was only 9%. (Nordregio 2009: 14) Until 1977 the Greenlandic workforce were discriminated against with lower salary and poorer employment and work conditions. After a work conflict the formal conditions were equalized, however the number of employees with a Greenlandic background were not Hendriksen, Hoffmann & Jørgensen