Global warming is melting Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers, and reducing the costs of mining there: Greenland's Melting Glaciers Spur Mining (Lisa Yuriko Thomas, Wall Street Journal, July 17):
Soaring commodity prices and the effects of global warming are pushing mining companies to seek out new ore deposits in one of the world's most hostile environments: Greenland.
Greenland, a giant island in the north Atlantic governed by Denmark, is seeing a revival of mineral exploration as the glaciers that cover 80% of its territory recede. As the ice melts, mining companies can now explore in areas that were previously inaccessible, and also work in the area for longer each year than was previously possible, executives say.
...smaller mining companies are also being drawn to previously operating mines, where higher global prices and the retreat of the ice cap has opened up new opportunities....
"Global warming has extended the working and exploring development season by a few weeks, as higher temperatures mean the frozen ice is leaving a couple of weeks earlier," he says. "With the rapid melting of the snow early in June, surface exploration is proceeding a month earlier than would have been possible one or two decades ago."
Once the ore is out of the ground, the receding Arctic ice cover may open new routes, and reduce the costs of shipping it:
According to a recent study by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the area of permanent ice cover in the Arctic -- sea ice that survives the summer and remains year round -- is contracting at a rate of roughly 9% per decade.
Melting Arctic ice could also open a more direct passage for shipping from Greenland to metal-hungry Asian countries such as China, says Mr. Zemek, Angus & Ross's CEO, allowing "shorter routes for longer periods."