The grab for Greenland-The world’s great powers have the Arctic’s natural resources and trade routes in their sights

08/12/2013 19:33

Source: Financial Times

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Greenland is once again catching the imagination of outsiders. International business executives and diplomats are retracing Egede’s journey. The rapid melting of the northern polar ice has set off something of a scramble for the resources buried below. By US estimates, the Arctic may hold 13 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 per cent of its untapped gas as well as untold mineral resources. The London-based think-tank Chatham House talks of an Arctic “cold rush”. Greenland, a frozen and mostly empty sprawl of a country reaching up from the Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean, sees a chance to reclaim its pre-colonial identity. “I guess we are in the business of nation-building,” says Vittus Qujaukitsoq, the minister of economy in a government with its sights on independence.

 

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Things are changing. Two of the big forces shaping the world’s geopolitical contours are global warming and the voracious appetite for raw materials of the world’s big emerging markets. Both converge on Greenland’s retreating ice-sheet. What happens next in the Arctic will touch the security and prosperity of the rest of the planet. “The world is paying attention to Greenland,” says Jens-Erik Kirkegaard, the government minister in charge of minerals and mining development, with more than a hint of satisfaction.

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