New Report: Greenland Gold Rush

Posted by William Colgan on September 26, 2014
Climate Change, New Research

The Brookings Institute has just released “The Greenland Gold Rush: Promise and Pitfalls of Greenland’s Energy and Mineral Resources”. The report states that Greenland offshore exploration is now easier than in the past, due to a decrease in sea ice concentration and extent resulting from climate change. The acceleration of Greenland’s tidewater glaciers, however, will result in more icebergs that may “complicate” offshore activities. Onshore, the report finds that climate change has already “relaxed” some of the historical constraints of operating in Greenland, via a lengthening of the summer exploration season and the deglaciation of more land. As expected for a country that is approximately 80 % ice-covered, many onshore resource activities will likely occur in pro-glacial settings.

Report summary: “As the Arctic ice continues to melt due to global warming, Greenland’s mineral and energy resources – including iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare earth elements, uranium and oil – are becoming more accessible. The political establishment in Greenland has made natural resource extraction a central part of its plans to become economically self-sufficient, and ultimately politically independent, from the Kingdom of Denmark. This will be no easy task, and it is made more difficult by Greenland’s rapidly aging population.”

The Brookings Institute report:


Currently permitted resource exploration and exploitation activities in Greenland, both offshore (yellow) and onshore (blue). (from

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1 Comment to New Report: Greenland Gold Rush

  • It will be interesting to see if some of the more powerful countries seeking new resources will respect Greenland’s desire for self governance and autonomy

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