21st Century Greenland Mining: Self Reliance Meets Reality TV

Americans, for all their environmental and ecological instincts and preservationist dreams, still posses a remarkable capacity for ruthless plunder in the name of self sufficiency and personal determination.

The ideals of toil and earning a place at the banquet table of prosperity is a deeply American trait, nurtured often at the expense of the environment.

Yet in Greenland the idea of broadening mining and drilling divides the country as the nation wrestles with competing ideas of economic self sufficiency versus environmental harmony. A motivating piece to this debate comes from Greenland’s continuing dependence on economic assistance from Denmark.

Curiously, we Americans have a perspective on this foreign discussion and its formed by “reality” television. In recent years a program called “Ice Cold Gold” has broadcast the adventures of a group of American prospectors working their way across Greenland in search of fortunes.

This curious idea of self determination by drill, pick ax or shovel is what led to the plunder of many of America’s natural resources since our earliest days as colonies. New England forests were coveted and cleared to become masts of English ships. Gold was hacked and flushed from California by the ton. Some look back on the old process of exploiting the lands of North America by drilling, digging and cutting with soul quivering shame. While others believe the earth is ours to command and cull in order for our survival and prosperity. To get the latest and greatest cell phone, rare earth metals are needed and some believe they rest beneath Greenland. While others, like the Ice Cold Gold team see Greenland as a new mineral rich Colorado of the past and do not shy away from controversial opinions. Greenland remains unexploited with mineral and gem resources potentially available to feed the world’s insatiable hunger for things shiny and precious.

Meanwhile as some of America brings its brash and abrasive energy to Greenland, there is a third group looking at mining as nowhere near an economic panacea. Comprised of specialists from within Greenland’s mining community, a committee was assembled and determined that small scale, limited time frame resource explorations would help shore up Greeland’s economic base. However, according to a report, resource mining would not provide a long term independence from Denmark’s financial aid.

So as Greenland struggles to find an economically viable and independent future, modern American prospectors dig away under the glare of camera lights in search of fortune and fame.


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