Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 490

  Commentary MINING IN GREENLAND – CURRENT STATE & PLANS FOR THE FUTURE Birger Poppel In February 2014 Naalakkersuisut, the Government of Greenland published Greenland’s Oil and Mineral Strategy 2014 – 2018. The ‘Summary’ of the strategy states that: The Government of Greenland’s goal with the mineral resources sector is clear. It wants to promote prosperity and welfare by creating new income and employment opportunities in the area of mineral resources activities. More specifically, the Government of Greenland’s long-term goal is to further the chances of making a commercially viable oil find – and that there are always five to ten active mines in Greenland in the long term. Mining activities of this scale will provide tax revenues of more than DKK 30bn over the next 15 years. The potential of an oil find may be much larger. Based on the current assumptions, the establishment of two oil fields – a 500m barrel field from 2020 and a 2bn barrel field from 2025 – would generate more than DKK 435bn to the Mineral Resources Fund until 2060 (Naalakkersuisoq, 2014: 8). This optimistic approach might be supported by the number of exploration licenses for mining activities that increased from 2002 until 2011 (followed by a decrease) and that exploration expenses from 2007 to 2012 on average amounted to roughly DKK 500 mill. Furthermore seven exclusive oil and gas exploration and exploitation licenses were granted in 2010 to seven blocks in the Greenlandic part of Baffin Bay. However, this approach is not supported by the hard facts of the Greenlandic situation according to opinions by most industry experts and researchers [see for instance: The Economic Birger Poppel is Project Chief, Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA) Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland.