Greenland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean adjacent to the Canadian arctic archipelago. While it is geographically part of North America, historically and economically, Greenland is closely related to Europe. From a mineral exploration perspective, Greenland is highly prospective yet underexplored; it is politically stable, maintains a long lived democracy and tax system, is open to foreign investment, and is mining friendly. The Greenland Self-Rule Government recognizes that the responsible development of mineral resources is critical to the future economy of Greenland.
Greenland is governed as a democracy by the Greenland Self Rule Government, and is recognized as an OECD member. Greenland’s population is approximately 56,000 people, most of which live in towns along the fjords in the southwest of Greenland where the climate is relatively mild.
2009 represented an historic year in Greenland’s political evolution, with the transition from Home Rule to Self Rule. In 1979 Greenland was granted ‘Home Rule’ by the Parliament of Denmark. Then in 2008 a referendum in Greenland approved a move to greater autonomy. On the 21st of June, 2009, Greenland assumed self-determination with responsibility for self government. Importantly this step sees Greenland assume 100% control of its natural resources, which had formerly been shared with Denmark.
The economy has been historically dependant on fishing and fish exports; however, with fisheries in decline, Greenland is looking to mineral and hydrocarbon resources to replace these industries in the years to come. Tourism is a growing industry, but is limited due to a short summer season and high travel costs. The economy relies heavily on employment through the public sector, with approximately half of government revenues coming from grants from the Danish government (3.2 billion Danish Kroner). The GDP (per capita) alone is equivalent to those of weaker European economies and unemployment is high. With the Danish government looking to reduce its subsidy of Greenland, and Greenland on a clear path to increase its economic and political independence, development of resource projects is now high on their list of priorities. For now, the Denmark maintains the block grant but as revenues from natural resource projects start to flow, the grant will gradually diminish.
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