Greenland went into legislative elections on Tuesday, after a campaign focused on a disputed mining project in the autonomous Danish territory as the Arctic island confronts first-hand the effects of global heating.
Greenland’s two main parties are divided on whether to authorise a controversial giant rare earth and uranium mining project, which is currently the subject of public hearings.
Supporters, including the ruling social democratic Siumut party, say the mine would yield an economic windfall. Opponents, such as the opposition left-green IA (Inuit Ataqatigiit) party, argue it could harm the vast island’s unspoilt environment.
Greenland’s geostrategic location and massive mineral reserves have raised international interest, as evidenced by the former US president Donald Trump’s swiftly rebuffed offer to buy it in 2019.
The election campaign for parliament’s 31 seats has also centred on fishing, the main driver of Greenland’s economy.
At a time when young Greenlanders are reconnecting with their Inuit roots and questioning their Danish colonial heritage, social issues and cultural identity have also been part of the debate.
People lined up as polling stations opened for the island’s roughly 40,000 voters. “I’m not voting like the last few times,” said Frederik Gronvold, who arrived early and said he wanted to see the development of fishing across the country. “I’m hoping for change.”
Polling stations are due to close at 8pm local time (2200 GMT), with final results expected early on Wednesday.