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Can coastal changes in Greenland create prosperity locally?


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Greenland Perspective invites to a public lecture with Research Fellow, PhD Mette Bendixen titled: "Can coastal changes in Greenland create prosperity locally?".

Globally, sand and gravel reserves are rapidly depleting while need is increasing, largely due to urban expansion, infrastructural improvements and the enhancement of coastal protection in response to climate change. As a consequence, the future global sand demand is expected to increase with 300% and associated prices with 400% within the next 80 years.

Ice flow dynamics of the Greenland Ice sheet control the production of sediment, and future acceleration in glacial flow and ice sheet melt will amplify Greenland’s supply of sediment to the coastal zone. The continuous supply of sand and gravel in Greenland are not only changing the coast, but it is so massive that it could serve as potential sources of material for the global construction market.

Exploiting this material by setting up a sand industry in Greenland could potentially act as a new way to diversify and strengthen the economy. This could create prosperity for the country, while solving one of the main global challenges related to resource scarcity.

This presentation will focus on the potential for a sand mining industry in Greenland and discuss how it can benefit the Greenlandic society by establishing projects that specifically promote prosperity and employment opportunities while building on the decades on maritime experience and knowledge of the Greenlanders. This way, Greenland can benefit from some of the challenges brought by climate change by becoming a global exporter of aggregates and relieve an increasing global demand.

Mette Bendixen is a coastal geographer, who got her PhD-degree from University of Copenhagen in 2017 from the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. 

Mette has received funding from the Carlsberg foundation and the Independent Research Fund Denmark to move to Colorado for three years conducting her research at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at University of Colorado, Boulder.

Her work focuses on landscape changes and coastal dynamics and Mette is currently working together with researchers from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Ilisimatusarfik, Greenland Perspective, and Asiaq – Greenland Survey to explore the possibilities for Greenland to establish a sand mining industry.

  • The lecture will be held in English
  • Tea, coffee and cake will be served afterwards, and there will be time for questions and discussion
  • Everyone is welcome


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