Getting to Know Greenland: Meet Malik Lynge Papis
By: Jodi Westrick
Contributed by David Casey
Malik Lynge Papis is French, Greenlandic and Danish. His Danish side can be traced back to the founding fathers of Greenland. Malik was the base camp manager for Ice Cold Gold Season 1. He is the owner of Inuit Resources, an exploration services company serving international mining companies such as Sixty Degree Resources. Malik was also an instrumental source of local information for the team of miners.
1.) Tell us about yourself: where you're from, the work you do, and how you got to be where you are now.
My Name is Malik Lynge Papis (Malik means Wave in Inuit). I am half Inuk, half French with some Norse and Greek heritage. I was born and raised in Nuuk, though I traveled to Europe throughout most of my childhood. In 1997 I had the opportunity to go to the inland ice to work on a drilling project. Since then, mineral exploration has become my passion and way of making a living. I have done everything from drilling and prospecting to channel sampling, mapping, grade verification, granulometry, environmental sampling and measuring. I have operated heavy equipment, supplied local labor to mining operations, handled logistics, contracting and have even peeled potatoes in the field. There is always something to do in the field.
[Watch an all-new episode of Ice Cold Gold TONIGHT at 10PM E/P!]
2.) You were the base camp manager for the first season of Ice Cold Gold. What did the job entail, and what was a typical day like for you at base camp?
The job was to design the camp and handle its budgeting and construction. I installed the electricity and hot and cold water as well. There is no typical day in any camp. But with Ice Cold Gold a "usual" day could include: hauling equipment and supplies, refueling the generator, constructing outhouses, building evening campfires, cooking, cleaning, and ordering supplies.
3.) What were the biggest challenges working with Sixty Degree Resources? What was most rewarding?
Some of the biggest challenges were the short time to prepare for the season and the limited funds. Greenland is quite an expensive country and most equipment needs to be shipped in on time. The most rewarding thing was to show our beautiful and sometimes-harsh country to the cast, crew and the people around the world, as well as the friendships I gained with all.
4.) Of all the miners that make up Sixty Degree Resources, is there anyone in particular that you connected with the most?
I connected very well with all of them, but in different ways since they all have unique personalities.
5.) In Season 1 of ICG, there was a big storm that hit camp. Tents went into the fjord, and things were lost. Tell us about the storm and how you managed to keep it all together.
At that time of year (in the fall), storms are expected. Though most tents were secure, some could not take the force from the wind. On the night of the storm, I had to use additional rocks to secure the crew’s tents. Unfortunately, a producer’s tent was taken by the wind into the sea even though it was the most aerodynamic tent in camp, all other tents stayed though some had to be raised the morning after from collapse.
6.) You've worked quite a bit in the mining industry. Tell us about your experiences and the different capacities in which you've worked within the industry.
No assignments are ever the same, and many tasks need to be done via helicopter charter down to the last screw, as there is no Home Depot around. The different capacities in which I've worked within are mainly with logistics, project planning, budgeting, engagement of local labor, contracting, among many others. There are many aspects that need to be considered when doing mineral exploration and fieldwork.
7.) With your job, you spend so much time in remote locations, with no internet, phone, television, or modern luxuries. Does the isolation ever bother you? How do you spend your off time when you're on location?
After a long winter, I look forward to going into the field to listen to the sound of silence. Most of the brightest ideas come when you are close to nature and away from the civilization’s hustle and bustle. Like I mentioned earlier, there are always things to be done in the field, though if I get the chance, I like to do a bit of prospecting, but then that is often part of the job overall.
8.) In Season 2 of Ice Cold Gold, you take the miners to visit the local fish market in Nuuk. Is there a staple in Greenlandic cuisine that we would find in all households?
There are seasons for most fish and meat, but seal is the main reason the Inuit have survived to this day. Though now the majority of meat consumed is imported, even with 16 million seals in Greenlandic waters. But reindeer, muskox, whale, fish, shellfish and locally farmed sheep are some of people’s favorites since we have it at the highest quality.
9.) As they say in Greenland, nature always rules. What was the worst weather you've ever experienced in Greenland?
There is no bad weather, only bad clothing. I have worked on a couple locations on several occasions with a chill factor of -60C (-76F).
10.) Is there a story behind the claw necklace you wear that we see in Ice Cold Gold?
It is a polar bear claw that was given to me by my mother’s old school friend whose husband shot the bear many years ago in East Greenland. Years later, I chartered a helicopter for 2 weeks in East Greenland and shared a cabin with him on a project without knowing my old necklace came from him. Only to find out when I got back to Nuuk that my old claw came from the first Greenlandic helicopter pilot that was married to my mother’s old school friend.
11.) Greenland is experiencing a lot of change, both politically and culturally. What are the changes you are seeing now? What changes would you like to see happen?
Greenland has gone through changes and development for many years with increased interest due to milder climate. I would like to see that Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) develops into a sustainable country both within living resources, mining and energy. I would like to see a self-sufficient country in the future with strong international allies.