Greenland is losing its evergreen arctic cover, and some billionaires see an opportunity where environmentalists see disaster. Because of the ice melting, it is now easier than before to seek rare elements that are needed to manufacture electric vehicles.
"We are looking for a deposit that will be the first- or second-largest most significant nickel and cobalt deposit in the world," Kurt House, CEO of KoBold Metals, told CNN.
A team comprising thirty geologists, geophysicists, cooks, pilots and mechanics are camped at the site where KoBold and Bluejay are reportedly seeking out the deposits.
“Crews are taking soil samples, flying drones and helicopters with transmitters to measure the electromagnetic field of the subsurface and map the layers of rock below. They're using artificial intelligence to analyze the data to pinpoint exactly where to drill as early as next summer,” CNN explains.
"It is a concern to witness the consequences and impacts from the climate changes in Greenland," Bluejay Mining CEO Bo Moller Stensgaard told CNN. "But, generally speaking, climate changes overall have made exploration and mining in Greenland easier and more accessible."
Another benefit of climate change according to Stensgaard is the ability to ship in heavy equipment and ship out metals without the ice usually clogging the waterways.
"As these trends continue well into the future, there is no question more land will become accessible and some of this land may carry the potential for mineral development," Mike Sfraga, the chair of the United States Arctic Research Commission, told CNN.
CNN reports that the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland considers Greenland to be a potential hotspot for coal, copper, gold, rare-earth elements and zinc.
The agency is quoted as saying the government of Greenland has done several "resource assessments throughout the ice-free land" and the government "recognizes the country's potential to diversify the national economy through mineral extraction."
According to Sfraga, the protection of and respect for the environment is an important part of Greenland’s culture.
"The government of Greenland supports the responsible, sustainable, and economically viable development of their natural resources to include mining of a broad range of minerals," Sfraga said.
Scientists who study the Arctic are concerned about the melting ice, however: "The big concern for Arctic sea ice is that it's been disappearing over the last several decades; it’s predicted to potentially disappear in 20 to 30 years," Nathan Kurtz, a NASA scientist who studies sea ice, told CNN. "In the fall, what used to be Arctic ice cover year-round is now just going to be seasonal ice cover."