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Greenland's anti-mining opposition party wins election

  • 7 Apr 2021

The election, in which campaigns were dominated by a debate on mining rare earth metals, was closely watched by international mining companies wanting to exploit Greenland's vast untapped minerals resources.

Members of IA (Inuit Ataqatigiit) party wave flags as they celebrate after the exit polls results of the legislative election in Nuuk, on April 6, 2021. ( AFP )

Greenland's main opposition party, which opposes a rare earth mining project, has become the biggest in parliament after securing more than a third of votes in a snap election.

The election result, closely watched by international mining companies wanting to exploit Greenland's vast untapped minerals resources, cast doubt on a mining complex at Kvanefjeld in the south of the Arctic island that holds one of the world's biggest deposits of rare earth metals.

With nearly all votes counted, the left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party took 37 percent of votes, unseating the ruling social-democratic Siumut party which secured 29 percent of votes, according to official results.

IA leader Mute Egede, 34, will be the first to try to form a new government.

Towards independence 

Though not opposed outright to mining, his party has a strong environmental focus. It has campaigned to halt the Kvanefjeld project, which aside from rare earths, including neodymium – used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and combat aircraft – also contains uranium.

While most Greenlanders see mining as an important path towards independence, the Kvanefjeld mine has been a contention point for years, sowing deep divisions in the government and population over environmental concerns.

The island of 56,000 people, which former U.S. President Donald Trump offered to buy in 2019, is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has broad autonomy.

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