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BBC's Fiona Werge
"Local authorities may well see in the melting plan a way of winning greater economic independence"
 real 28k

Thursday, 19 October, 2000, 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK
Greenland taps into its ice
Huskie-drawn sledge in Greenland
Greenland is thought to hold 20% of the world's drinking reserves
A plan to bottle Greenland's ice and export the water to the rest of the world is being considered by the country's authorities.

The Greenland Parliament is due to decide next month whether private investors may tap into the island's ice cap.

Greenland is thought to hold 20% of the world's drinking reserves in the ice sheet which covers most of its territory.

Some say that if the project is given the go-ahead, it could result change the island's economic future.

Big player

Worldwide bottled-water sales amount to tens of billions of dollars each year - and grow steadily.

Bottled-water
Greeenland could produce 500 million litres of bottled-water
Greenland could become a big player in that market.

Experts say that by melting and bottling only 5% of the fresh ice that forms each year in Greenland, 500 million litres a year would be produced.

That is equivalent to Canada's entire annual water export to the United States.

Under the proposals being considered by the parliament, an elevated pipeline would carry water from a glacier directly to a bottling plant.

The investors are seeking a guarantee of exclusive sales and distribution rights for at least 25 years.

In return, they would bear the brunt of the project's estimated $40m start-up costs.

Economic independence

It is thought that Greenlanders would retain ownership of the resource through the sale of shares to the government.

This, added to other incomes that the project could generate might change the country's economic future.

Greenland is a Danish protectorate and depends on its mother country for economic survival.

But the BBC's Fiona Werge says that the island's authorities may well see the ice melting plan as a way of obtaining economic independence.

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21 Jul 00 | Sci/Tech
Greenland's coastal ice thins fast
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