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Oslo (AFP) Jan 21, 2014
Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond said on Tuesday it was "natural" for Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, to want independence.
"Our path towards independence is a natural path for people that have been colonised before," Hammond said at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Norway.
"I want Greenland to have a self-sustaining economy based on our own resources, with a greater degree of integration into the world economy," she added.
Hammond described independence as a "long-term" political goal, with Danish subsidies accounting for half Greenland's economy.
The pro-independence Social Democratic politician won the legislative election in March 2013 on the promise to develop the mining industry.
Greenland has pinned its hopes on the territory's reserves of mineral resources including uranium, rare earths and oil.
However, Hammond pledged that economic development would not be at the expense of the environment.
"Our new mining and oil activities are taking place in some of the largest and most pristine environments anywhere in the world," she said.
"We do not need to be reminded by others of the preciousness of our nature's wealth, because it continues to feed us, clothe us, and sustain us every day."
Hammond said her government would apply the highest health and environmental standards to all mineral and oil activities within its jurisdiction.
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