Governance framework for socially sustainable mining in Greenland

Lead Author Heidi, Tiainen
Institution Contact University of Eastern Finland, Dep. of Geographical and Historical Studies Metla/ Room 1101 Yliopistokatu 6 80130 Joensuu Finland
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.1 The role of law and institutions in Arctic transformation process
Presentation Type Poster
Abstract text Governance frameworks for mining are an especially topical issue as the industry is entering new regions throughout the world. Mining sets excessive demands for the institutional framework but good governance can promote the contribution of mining to sustainable development. However, especially emerging mining countries have been noted to face difficulties in mining governance. One of the countries with vast resource potential and ambitions for mining development is Greenland - the autonomous Inuit country of Denmark. In 2009, Greenland received greater autonomy with the right to elect government and parliament, the former having sovereignty and administration over a number of areas including mineral resources. Since, the development of mining industry has been forcefully promoted by the national government and Greenland. The general political discourse of the decision makers has stressed the importance of social sustainability in mining development. The article analyzes the social sustainability approach of national mining policy and the rapidly evolving governance framework in Greenland. The findings suggest that Greenland has adopted a proactive approach to governance and established a framework for mining with a set of policy tools emphasizing social sustainability. Mining is perceived with potential to contribute to social sustainability through increased employment and skills development. The governance framework with the key tools environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA) and impact benefit agreement (IBA) draws from international best-practices, mixing regulation and softer mechanisms while seeking to remain considerate to the local context. However, as Greenland is inexperienced with mining and the capacity of government authorities is relatively humble, implementation of the tools is challenging. Further, the approach of national policy and governance framework towards social sustainability is somewhat biased and the processes of governance have been argued limited in terms of true dialogue.