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Greenland is the largest island in the world; some ten times larger in physical size than Great Britain, but with a population of only 56,000, compared to the 67 million. Most of the population is Inuit, and have evolved from their Canadian ancestors. They have always relied on hunting at sea for their export revenue, but it isn’t enough.Over the years, Greenland has gradually assumed some self-governing roles from the Kingdom of Denmark, who now only retains control over its’ financial and foreign affairs. Greenland still relies on a substantial injection of money from Denmark to sustain itself, although it is anticipated that the country will eventually become self-sustaining through the development of their mineral resources. The Inuits live on part of the perimeter of this island of solid rock, particularly on the south-western edge. Over 95 per cent of Greenland is covered in an ice cap that is up to two miles deep, and is essentially uninhabitable. But, the ice cap is gradually melting; exposing the island to more mineral exploration.
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On the very tip of this island, the town of Nanortalik is home to about 1,350 Inuits. It is the tenth largest community in the country and is one of a number of host towns in Greenland to relatively newly arrived explorationists, that are searching for valuable minerals, such as gold. Others gather at Narsaq, some 60 miles to the north-west, if they are interested in exploring for rare earth metals – and many are these days.
It is said that gold was first discovered at the Nalunaq property by the Vikings in the fifteenth century or earlier, but they were more interested in the easily harvested, valuable, ivory walrus tusks, they exported to the world. While this, in itself, would not normally create a problem so great that world powers would become interested, the Nalunaq developers were pulling the same trick on a number of other unsuspecting countries. Something needed to be done.Nalunaq is 20 miles, or so, to the north-west of Nanortalik, and is only accessible by boat, or helicopter. It is 60 miles to the south of the US Military-built Narsarsuaq international airport that has connections to Copenhagen and Reykja- vik. The property is bounded by the interior ice cap to the East, the two mile deep Saqqaa Fjord 5 miles to the West, and no-man’s land to the North and South. There are no connector roads between communities, who have to rely on Sikorsky S-16 helicopters and ferries to get from one town to another. In the early part of the twenty-first century, one company, in particular, moved forward with the exploitation of the Nalunaq property. After all, it hosted something like 1 oz/ton of gold, but in very narrow, three feet wide, veins that were only economically accessible by specialized underground mining. Unfortunately, the Norwegian mine developers were rogues, as some of them are, but these were particularly delinquent. They conceived a plan to build a processing facility, funded by the World Bank, the Greenlandic government and their benevolent Danish supporters but, instead, shipped the ore offshore to process. Not only did it mean funnelling the capital provided into their own pockets, but it also deprived the country of much needed revenue from the building and operating of a processing plant, as well as no tax stream going to benefit the community and no employment. The $530 million worth of gold just disappeared on barges, to points west, as raw ore.
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