Warming Arctic spurs battles for riches, shipping routes

Sea ice melts on the Franklin Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Saturday, July 22, 2017. Because of climate change, more sea ice is being lost each summer than is being replenished in winters. Less sea ice coverage also means that less sunlight will be reflected off the surface of the ocean in a process known as the albedo effect. The oceans will absorb more heat, further fueling global warming. (AP Photo/David Goldman)



LANCASTER SOUND, Nunavut (AP) — Global warming is slowly thawing the Arctic, spurring talk of a gold rush for natural resources, shipping routes and other business opportunities in the Far North.

Credible surveys estimate that oil, gas and precious minerals worth hundreds of billions of dollars lie untouched beneath the ice.

But industry experts and Arctic veterans say there are major obstacles to reaping those riches, not least due to the effects of climate change itself.

Following a month-long, 10,000-kilometer (6,200-mile) journey aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica last month, The Associated Press examines the prospects for an Arctic ‘gold rush’ and the reasons why it might not happen soon.


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