Sacrifice Zones for a Sustainable State? Greenlandic Mining Politics in an Era of Transition

Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


Greenland is challenged by harsh economic realities. The exploitation of mineral and energy resources seems to be among the most obvious ways to address the challenges of ensuring a viable and sustainable future for Greenland and its communities. The economic issues are particularly important in relation to the ambitions of taking over responsibilities regarding other policy areas like foreign affairs, and monitoring and protection of fisheries rights where the Danish government is still in charge and paying the costs. Resource management in Greenland has been characterized by pragmatic approaches, not only to the managing of the living and renewable resources, but also in connection with the ongoing adjusting the regulations for mining. The block grant from Denmark acts as a stabilizer for Greenland’s economy, reducing overheating in times of large natural-resource revenue as it is reduced when income from extractive industries are of a significant size. This reduces the potential for “boom and bust” scenarios occurring, as observed in other parts of the Arctic. Nevertheless, irrespective of whether one sees the Greenlandic discourse on mining as hegemonic or not in terms of future development, mining activities may have a potentially far reaching impact on various ecosystem services – and hence on these services’ role as developmental alternatives or supplements to mining.


Arctic mining Multi-level governance Local government Development strategies Land use challenges 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NordregioStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Kommune KujalleqKujalleqGreenland
  3. 3.Nordland Research InstituteBodøNorway

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