What is the Antarctica? For some, it’s a boring continent covered in massive ice sheets. To others, it’s the image of penguins flapping around. In reality, it’s a massive treasure waiting to be explored; overshadowed by a shady history and greedy power politics.
And Argentina and Chile need to claim it as their own.
Goldmine of minerals
Both on land and beneath the nearby oceans, Antarctica is brimming with mineral resources. Minerals like diamond, chromium, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, tin, uranium, and zinc have been discovered by scientific missions. In addition, it also has vast reserves of coal, oil and natural gas.
The extraction of these resources in the region is currently unprofitable. But, it will become commercially viable to recover at least some of them in the future, as technology advances. Especially if global warming causes the glaciers to melt, which would expose additional places and increased access. Further, as the ice melts, it’ll create a new trade route and a new sphere of fishing in south of Americas.
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Basically, Antarctica is a goldmine, just waiting to be explored.
Several countries staked their claim on the continent between the 1900s and 1950s. As a consequence, the Antarctic Treaty was signed between 12 nations and enforced in 1961. The original signatories are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As of 2022, the treaty has signatories.
Currently, the Antarctic Treaty serves as the cornerstone of international collaboration in Antarctica. It is the legal framework for the continent’s management on a worldwide scale. 54 countries took part in the last years’ Antarctic Treaty Consultative meeting held at Berlin.
However, it’s questionable on what basis the signatories and 50 odd nations claim their authority on Antarctica.
Chile and Argentina are the closest nations to Antarctica. Concessions can be made to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. But, what has US, UK, Russia and China got do with it? The extensive research being done by these nations is abuse of power.
To summarize, whole Antarctic treaty is a farce.
The politics of Antarctica will is only going to get fierce in the near future. When you look at Arctic, militarization and disputed sovereignties have grown in the recent years. Several nations have an economic opportunity to obtain resources because of the melting Arctic.
Similarly, debate over which country has the right to claim the South Pole as its own is only going to get stronger.
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We at Tfi Global Latin America firmly believe that Argentina and Chile need to claim Antarctica as their own. They have long discarded the topic and kept it on backburner. Before, the politics on the claimants on Antarctica begins; they should nip it in bud.
In conclusion, the prosperity of South American continent depends on Antarctica. It’s time they realise it.
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