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Growing demand for resources around the globe will most likely lead to an increase in prices for commodities such as iron ore, uranium, zinc and other minerals. The Arctic, rich in various minerals has traditionally been perceived in a center-periphery view as a reservoir of various resources.

The penetration of resource extraction oriented industries brought also the development of transportation networks to the circumpolar North. These historical developments will be enhanced by a third aspect – climate change – in the future.

Even though an exact prediction is difficult, it is safe to say that Arctic mining in general will see new developments in many regions of the North.

The retreating ice will make both resources previously covered in an inhospitable area more accessible and transport more easily but at the same time more challenging. In many places of the Arctic region the possibilities of improved mining are clearly perceived, as seen in increasing issuing of licenses and consequent mining activities (e.g. Greenland, Russia and Canada).

The global warming comes into effect with positive and negative effects: Higher temperatures make railroad and ice road transport more challenging. Yet shipping is facing new possibilities.

There are examples from Northern Norway where iron ore mines that were inactive for 14 years recently being reopened due to improved shipping routes. Coal mining on Svalbard will most likely also benefit from increased shipping possibilities.

Russia has expressed plans for extensive seabed mining. In Greenland and Canada numerous activities and new mines for different minerals from zinc to diamonds to gold are in planning.

Sources: Angelmining Minyaville Thomas White Spitsbergen-Svalbard

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