Greenland’s premier has said that the EU won’t be given preference over China as the country seeks to exploit its rare earths deposits. Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist told the media “All are welcome if they meet our conditions and our requirements to operate in Greenland,” the BBC reports.
Europe has made a request for special treatment ahead of what many believe will be a major production boom in Greenland’s lucrative rare earth mineral industry. Klesit said, however, that it would simply be unfair, “to protect others’ interests more than protecting, for instance, China’s.”
Rare earths are essential for the manufacturing of consumer electronics. Experts say that China controls an estimated 97 percent of the current market, which has led to a dispute with Europe, Japan and the United States, who have taken the matter up with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Now, major Chinese mining firms have reportedly reached an agreement with Greenland officials to exploit the region’s huge potential for the minerals, which are now becoming more accessible due to accelerated ice melt in recent years.
Kleist also downplayed concerns about Chinese plans to import labour for forthcoming operations: “I do not see thousands of Chinese workers in the country as a threat,” he said.