Greenland 2013

Yearbook 2013

Greenland. The election to the County Council in March became a victory for Social Democratic Siumut (Forward) and the party’s new, charismatic leader Aleqa Hammond. Siumut took almost 43% of the vote against just over 34% for the Left Party IA (Inuit Ataqatigiit). Liberal Conservative Atassut (Sense of Community), Liberal Democrats (Democrats) and the new center-left party Partii Inuit (Inuit Party) also took up seats in the County Council.

During the year, agreements were made with several foreign mining companies, and the election movement was largely about how Greenland would exploit its large iron ore and uranium minerals with several minerals, as well as the expected oil and gas extractions.

Aleqa Hammond and Siumut criticized the IA government’s policy of bringing Greenland to independence through extensive commodity exports that would provide financial independence from Denmark. IA wanted to open for Chinese mining companies and import labor from countries such as China with the wages and working conditions that apply in the home country. Hammond wanted to tax foreign mining companies more severely than IA, and she warned of increasing the economic gaps between the capital Nuuk and Greenland’s sparsely populated area. At the same time, she wanted to lift the Greenland ban on uranium mining.

After Siumut’s election victory, Greenland got its first female head of government, when Aleqa Hammond formed a majority coalition with Siumut, Atassut and Partii Inuit.

The Greenland government justified the decision to open for uranium mining, as Greenland is financially dependent on contributions from Denmark and has a high unemployment rate. But the decision was controversial both in Greenland and in Copenhagen, where it was felt that the decision must have Denmark’s approval.

When the people-elected county council voted in favor of uranium mining in October, the government won with only one overweight mandate, since some of the coalition’s members voted no. It led, among other things. to the small party Partii Inuit was forced to leave the government. The opposition demanded a referendum on the issue and said it was prepared to overturn the decision.

With the lifting of the ban on uranium mining, the road to mining a number of other metals was also opened. The Kuannersuit (Kvanefjeld) on Greenland’s southern tip is not only the world’s fifth or sixth largest uranium reserve, but also has large resources of rare earth metals used in the electronics industry. The environmental organization Greenpeace urged Denmark to say no to uranium mining in Greenland because of the environmental risks.

During the fall, it became known that the new head of government Hammond had an old fraud case in the baggage. She had been convicted in 1996 of cheating a hotel in the capital Nuuk by using a credit card several times that lacked coverage. The scam was one of several scandals linked to the new government.

Greenland followed the example of the Faroe Islands and Iceland during the year and went into conflict with the EU on fishing quotas in the North Atlantic. As the stock of mackerel is moving further and further north, more mackerel has entered Greenland waters, and the Greenland Government therefore unilaterally decided to close enough quadruple this year’s catch rate of mackerel to 55,000 tonnes.