格陵兰系列4:冬天内地的败 North of the heart of winter


        TEXT: Anja Rosa    作者:Anja Rosa

In the polar desert, where the winter night lasts for months, there will be hard work, seal soup, daily routines and bingo. But in the isolated mining town, nothing is like home.


It is as close to the North Pole’s postal code as you can get: Citronen
Fjord lies as a small appendage to the 140 kilometre long Frederick E.
Hyde Fjord in Peary Land in the High Arctic.

Frederick E. Hyde峡湾对待下,就恍如一个微附件。

\(上图)Peary Land Aerial, Greenland, 2007  Peary岛航拍,格陵兰,2007

Here, after ten years of preparation – in a corner of the biggest nature
reserve in the world – the Australian company Ironbark Zinc Ltd has
received the Government of Greenland’s permission to open a mine that is
estimated to contain the world’s biggest deposits of zinc and lead.


\(上图)The mines will be built in the northernmost corner of
Greenland’s National Park and an airport will also be built there. 

The exploitation license means that Ironbark has intensified work to get
the finuancing in place. This is always the hardest part of a project.
But if all goes to plan with help of Chinese backing the mining town
will be constructed in 2018. Two years later, the mine should be fully


Some people would say no to a life at 83°northern latitude, but this
demanding life does not deter young men and women who are made of the
right stuff. They are ready to write job applications and the priorities
are clear:


– They ask first and foremost about the wages, says training manager
Hans Hinrichsen from the Mining School in Sisimiut, which trains future
mining staff .


Away from family 远离家人

Up in the zinc and lead mines there will be plenty of work for the young
Greenlanders. In the construction phase, 300 workers are to be
recruited, 60 of them local and the rest from abroad. And when mining of
the ore begins, the number will rise to almost 500. Of these, somewhere
between 235 and 430 are expected to be Greenlanders.


– We are looking forward to this, emphasizes Hans Hinrichsen from the
mining school. He adds that the wages should be at attractive enough to
compensate for the tough conditions such as sweeping hurricanes, months
of polar darkness and temperatures down to minus 50 degrees.


– And it is not the climate that is the worst of it all. We are used to
it. It is being away from family, says Hans Hinrichsen.


The miners will be working shifts. There are two models; six weeks in
the mine and three weeks off. Or three-three. The work is organized so
that the regular rhythm consists of 12 hour work shifts and 12 hours
off. The mine will never rest. It must be working 24 hours a day, 365
days a year.


Training manager Hans Hinrichsen predicts that recreation time will be
the most difficult time for the workers. There will be films and
fitness, sleeping and eating. But it will probably be hard to pass the


–It is important that people can communicate with their families from up
there. It is possible from other remote mines, so it should also be
possible there, says Hans Hinrichsen.

Hans Hinrichsen说。

\(上图&下图)Work has been going on for ten years to create a basis
for a mine at Citronen Fjord.

No surfing 没有网络

And yes – lines of communication have been thought of. Computers will be
set up in the mine’s library, but use of them will be restricted.


– Employees will not be permitted to surf on the internet and use (of
the three computers. Ed.) will be reserved for contact with the home, it
says in the material from Ironbark.


This is because there are no communication satellites up at 83° northern
latitude. Ironbark must therefore set up a connection to the outside
world, but capacity will be so low, that a filter on Iceland will
prevent e.g. large emails from shutting the system down.


But as a miner, you gain the companionship of your colleagues and this
can compensate a little for being away from home and family.


– A very special atmosphere evolves in a mining environment. There are
many nationalities, so it is international and this appeals to young
people in particular, says Hans Hinrichsen. However, he recommends that
the mining management makes an effort to create a particularly
Greenlandic environment for the employees, for example by ensuring they
can have Greenlandic food.


– I know that other mining projects have arranged a weekly bingo
evening, which the workers liked a lot and that would also be a good
idea here, he says.


(上图)It may be hard for mine workers to pass the time in this
isolated town.  对矿工来说,在与世隔离的镇上泡时光是项难事。

Largest project 最可怜之工

If Ironbark succeeds in obtaining the DKK three billion, it is looking
good for Greenland’s treasury. According to the company’s feasibility
study, the export value of the zinc and lead could be about DKK 38
billion and if this prognosis holds, it will result in total revenue for
the treasury of up to DKK 4.5 billion in taxes and royalties over a 14
year period.


The signalling effect of the project could be significant for the
country’s economy.


\(上图)The license will be signed in Nuuk by Minister of Mineral
Resources Muté B. Egede and Ironbark’s director Jonathan Downes.
许可证将于努克由格陵兰矿产资源部长Muté B. Egede和铁巴克公司经营Jonathan

According to the Minister of Mineral Resources, Muté B. Egede, the
Citronen Fjord project could serve as a giant advertising poster for
Greenland: If the mine is successful, it will be easier to attract
foreign capital for other mineral projects. 

因格陵兰矿产资源部长Muté B.

The mines will be built at the tip of Citronen Fjord on the eastern bank
in a crossing of two glacial valleys where the Esrum River and the Østre
River run. The fjord is surrounded by bare mountains up to 1,000 metres
in height.


Two open mines and one underground mine will be built as well as a jetty
so vessels can put in three times during the summer season. There will
also be an airport, roads, processing plants, tailing plants for mining
waste, a dam at the lake, storage buildings and, of course, offices and


The closest year-round habitation is at the Danish military base at
Station Nord. It is 940 km to Qaanaaq, which is the closest Greenlandic
habitation and approx. 2000 km to the capital, Nuuk.


Today, the Sirius Patrol is all that travels regularly in the area.
Other living creatures such as musk-oxen, wolves or polar bears move on
quickly towards richer feeding grounds. Only five per cent of the ground
is covered in vegetation.


The Ironbark project is the largest of the most advanced three mining
projects in Greenland. The other two are the ruby mine and the Hudson
Project. 3.3 million tons of ore a year will be mined here, which is
five times the amount that was mined at the Maarmorilik mine between
1973 and 1991.


(上图)The Antamina mine in the Andes in Peru is one of the world’s
biggest zinc mines. Ironbark will be a competitor.