Watch China rig elections in Greenland in 2024

Lujavrite, GreenlandLujavrite, a dark agpaitic nepheline syenite.

Greenland, the really big island near the US and semi-autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark, stunned a lot of people when the Inuit Ataqatigiit political party overtook the Siumut party for a majority of the government seats. This is important because the Inuit Ataqatigiit party essentially campaigned on shutting down a Chinese and Australian backed rare earth mine in the Kvanefjeld region of southern Greenland. I’m calling it right now: watch the Chinese begin to manipulate the Greenland government in advance of the 2024 election.

Greenland’s government is particularly important due to mining for rare earth metals. Greenland sits on a large sheet of underground minerals known as the Ilimaussaq intrusive complex. This sheet has a number of rare earth metals and enough uranium to make it the 6th largest uranium mine in the world if it was mined. Exploring of the Ilimaussag complex has been done at the Kvanefjeld site, located in southern Greenland. The government formed by the Siumut party was happy to allow this exploration, as the mining would bring in job and revenue and potentially help Greenland become financially independent.

The local communities near Kvanjfeld weren’t so happy. Among the items mined for was Lujavrite, which contains uranium. The company performing the exploration, Greenland Minerals, wanted to process the uranium as well as the other rare earth metals. Locals were concerned about the environmental impacts, even more so when Greenland Minerals gained considerable Chinese funding due to a Chinese company purchasing stock worth at least 11% of the company in 2016.

Since the new government formed, stock prices of Greenland Mines plummeted over 40%. The new government is working with Bluejay Mining, which mines titanium at a different mine, and apparently had a pleasant meeting, likely a way to dissuade mining companies from moving investments elsewhere. Kvanjfeld was divisive because the company paid only lip service to environmental concerns and seemed to move ahead with uranium mining without working with locals in the area.

Greenland doesn’t have a lot of people, and the last election only registered about 26,000 total votes. To swing an election would take only changing a few thousand votes. If the Chinese lock up the minerals in Greenland, it’ll be a huge blow to Western countries access to rare earth metals. Combine that with China’s own rare earth mines and increasing investment in Africa, and you’ve got a rare earth monopoly in one country that has shown willingness to flex that muscle in the past.

Yes, that’s one of a few reasons Donald Trump offered to buy Greenland. It actually made, and still makes, a lot of sense. Maybe they can become a state along with Washington DC?

The Inuit Ataqatigiit party is unlikely to change their stance on uranium mining. Watch as China slowly invests more money and likely engages in cyber intrusion to penetrate and manipulate the Greenland government to its will over the next four years. Greenland is literally a neighbor to the United States, and we should be really concerned about the increasing Chinese investment there. By 2024, I don’t expect the Inuit Ataqatigiit to have anything resembling a majority government if China has their way about it.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Greenland? Why Not?

There is much ado about President Trump offering to purchase Greenland, and the Danish government politely turning it down. Was it stupid to make the offer in the first place? It’s not the first time the U.S. has offered to buy Greenland, which captured the interest of William Seward in 1867 and President Truman in 1946. Trump’s offer is looked at as rude, but its actually a bit genius.

The biggest under reported piece about Greenland is timing with China. China recently tried to purchase the Grønnedal naval base on the western side of the island. It wasn’t economically viable, but it would give them a foothold in Greenland to work from. China looked at other purchases of various mines in Greenland, including mines near the North Pole and mines for uranium and rare earth metals.

The Danish government’s response has been tepid. The local Greenland government, longing for independence, needs viable economic development in order to be independent of Denmark. Keep in mind that the majority of the 58,000 mostly Inuit people on Greenland don’t really identify as Danish, and have been creeping closer to independence over the past 20 years. Heck, Greenland isn’t even part of the EU anymore. China needs a claim to the Arctic, and has plenty of experience loaning money in debt diplomacy, so it seems like a win for China.

Enter Trump and the “bombastic” claim to purchase Greenland. How can Denmark respond?

  1. Denmark can take the offer. Greenland becomes essentially like an independent Indian nation inside the US.

Sounds crazy? Right now, Greenland operates under it’s own laws, and allows Denmark to manage foreign affairs and security. What about US Indian tribes?

“These tribes possess the right to form their own governments, to enforce laws (both civil and criminal) within their lands, to tax, to establish requirements for membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone, and to exclude persons from tribal territories. Limitations on tribal powers of self-government include the same limitations applicable to states; for example, neither tribes nor states have the power to make war, engage in foreign relations, or coin money (this includes paper currency).” (from Wikipedia)

That doesn’t sound like a bad deal.

  1. Denmark can reject the offer and say that Greenland belongs to them.

By doing so, Denmark will have to say how important Greenland is…which will spark it to show it can protect the area, perhaps invest in it, address Inuit concerns and, most importantly, not allow China a foothold.

Trump’s offer comes on the heels of Secretary of State Pompeo making fun of China’s claim to be a “near-Arctic” nation. “Near-Arctic” means…nothing. It’s a poor attempt for China to get in on the “global superpower” game, and Pompeo rightly laughed them off the stage. Trump crushing China’s hopes in Greenland provide much-needed follow-through on this Arctic-denial strategy.

Trump’s offer is a win-win for the U.S. It starts serious dialog about Greenland and makes the Denmark government, who have to defend Greenland, become more serious about its defense. No surprise, Denmark is increasing its defense budget, although still falling short of the 2% GDP NATO limit. And most importantly, it directly kicks China out of the running for Arctic Nation status.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.