Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 263

263 Arctic Yearbook 2014   elevated, according to Nordregio, because of the company’s right to choose who they preferred to employ (Ibid 2009: 13-14). The only recently operated mine is the Nanulaq gold mine in Kirkespirdalen in South Greenland, Nanortalik district, which has been running since 2004, but for the time being is closed down. The mine has continuously employed 80-100 people, but only in the last period, where it went down to 60 workers, has the mine managed to have more than 50% domestic manpower, of which a large part were working in service activities such as cleaning, catering and transport. This is particularly remarkable as the mine is located in one of the country’s poorest districts with massive unemployment. Relatively more Greenlanders have worked shorter periods at the Nalunaq mine, but few have done it for a long time. The most often heard explanation is that the workers choose to work in the mine for a period long enough to raise money for e.g. a new tractor for their sheep, a dinghy or boat engine for hunting and fishing, consumer goods for the home, or other similar reasons. The working conditions are not acceptable for an extended period of time (Hendriksen 2013). The way work is organized seems not to be acceptable to the everyday life practices and culture of Greenland, where time spent with family counts very much, and many consider having time to get out into the countryside, hunting and fishing, to be very important. This also explains why a relatively large part of the crew on Greenlandic trawlers is recruited outside Greenland from the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Denmark (Nielsen, 2000). In recent decades, several hydropower stations and runways have been constructed by contractors from outside Greenland that primarily use migrant workers, while local job creation has been extremely modest. There are indications that the next big mining projects can quickly end up creating the same problem. At the anticipated iron mine at Isua in the bottom of Godthåbsfjord, alone, a workforce of up to 1,000 during the operational phase is expected. The question is whether it is realistic to find manpower at this scale in Greenland under contemporary conditions considering the failure to find more than approx. 50% resident labour for a mine with 80-100 employees. If a large proportion of local workers are not employed, the socio-economic impact for Greenland from mining may be very modest, as long as the only direct income is taxation of the employees’ wages, and workers from outside Greenland are exempted from council tax and only pay national taxes. Because these migrant workers do not live permanently in Greenland, they do not re-circulate their wage income into society for basic consumption, having primarily a negative impact on the