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European Journal

Greenland: Race for Underground Resources

A wealth of raw materials lies in wait under Greenland's ice sheet. Gold, titanium, rare earths and uranium are fuelling the debate over Greenland’s independence from Denmark.

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Greenland boasts one of the biggest supplies of rare earths and other minerals in the world. The North Atlantic territory does not have the financial means to mine the resources itself, however. The result has been a race among other nations eager to invest in Greenland. China is offering the local government around €180m to expand its infrastructure. The EU is talking of investing €218m. Denmark, which the autonomous territory belongs to, is hearing growing opposition to close links between Greenland and China. The government in Copenhagen must bear in mind, however, that raw material issues such as mining licenses are now matters for the island itself to decide since it gained greater autonomy in 2009.