Greenland’s left-wing environmentalist party, Inuit Ataqatigiit, won a victory in general elections on Tuesday after campaigning against the development of a contentious rare earths mine partly backed by China.
The party, which had been in the opposition, won 37 percent of the vote over the longtime incumbents, the center-left Siumut party.
The environmentalists will need to negotiate a coalition to form a government, but observers said their election win in Greenland, a semiautonomous territory of Denmark that sits on a rich vein of untapped uranium and rare earth minerals, signaled concerns from voters over the impact of mining.
“The people have spoken,” Múte B. Egede, the leader of Inuit Ataqatigiit, told the Danish broadcaster DR, adding that voters had made their position clear and that the mining project in Kvanefjeld in the country’s south would be halted.
Greenland Minerals, an Australian company behind the project, has said the mine has the “potential to become the most significant Western world producer of rare earths,” adding that it would create uranium as a byproduct.
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