Greenland has awarded the British-based company London Mining a 30-year licence to build and run a giant iron ore mine in the autonomous Danish territory.
London Mining, which is expected to seek investment partners for the project, says the mine is expected to produce 15 million tonnes a year of "very high-quality iron ore concentrate" for the global steel industry, shipped out year round from a dedicated deepwater port.
The Greenland government hopes the mine will boost the economy, which is largely dependent on fishing and subsidies from Denmark. Calling it his country's largest-ever commercial project, industry and minerals minister Jens-Erik Kirkegaard said: "This is indeed a historic moment for Greenland."
Some opponents say the open-cast mine will cause environmental damage; others are concerned about plans to bring in up to 3000 mainly Chinese workers to Greenland, which has a total population of about 56,000.
The iron ore deposit is located 150 kilometres from the capital, Nuuk.