Natural resources of the Arctic

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Natural resources of the Arctic are the mineral and animal resources within the Arctic region (sometimes defined as north of the Arctic Circle) that provide or have potential to provide utility or economic benefit to humans. The Arctic contains significant amounts of minerals, boreal forest, marine life and fresh water.


The United States Geological Survey estimates that 22 percent of the world's oil and natural gas could be located beneath the Arctic.[1]


Large Arctic mines include Red Dog mine (zinc) in Alaska, Diavik Diamond Mine in Northwest Territories, Canada, and Sveagruva in Svalbard. Large mines under development are Baffinland Iron Mine in Nunavut, and Isua Iron Mine in Greenland.

Gold mining in Alaska is widespread. Fort Knox Gold Mine is the largest producer of gold in the history of Alaska.


The range of some sub-Arctic fish stocks is likely to extend into Arctic areas due to climate change, and decreasing ice-cover will likely lead to more fishing activity. Scientific understanding of Arctic fish populations is limited and needs to be studied before increased Arctic fishing occurs.

In the area of the Arctic north of the Atlantic, extensive commercial fisheries and international managerial mechanisms already exist. North of the Bering Strait, there are currently no significant commercial fisheries and no international management mechanisms.

Fresh Water[edit]

Greenland holds about 10% of the world's fresh water reserves.[2]

Hydro power[edit]

The often mountainous areas and the low population density means that the villages in the Arctic often are self suppliant on electricity through hydro power. Some places still use oil for electricity generation and heating.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] US Congressional Hearing. "Strategic Importance of the Arctic in US Policy." Page 15.
  2. ^ China and the Northern Rivalry