Archive for November, 2008

Nov 22 2008

Pepperspray used at anti-police protest


The now regular Saturday protests in front of the Icelandic parliament in Reykjavik went ahead today as planned, but a follow-up demonstration outside the police headquarters ended in the police using pepperspray. During the busy parliament protests, the famous statue of Jonas Sigurdsson was dressed in women’s clothing to remind people of the role of the female half of the population and how they should take a leading role in rebuilding the Icelandic economy.
After the rally, some 200 to 300 people took part in a different protest at the main police station to demand the release of Haukur Himarsson, who had been arrested last night when police found out he was the person to fly the Bonus supermarket flag from the top of parliament two weeks ago.
After officers in full riot gear used pepper spray to try to disperse the crowds, police eventually released Hilmarsson and the crowd dissipated. It is still not known whether or not the police charged Hilmarsson before his release, however.
Hilmarsson was arrested last night after an educational research trip to the Althingi parliament house. He has a suspended 14 days remaining of an 18-day prison sentence he received in 2005 for protests against the Karahnjukar dam.

Nov 11 2008

Alcoa’s shares down as production is decreased


Today Alcoa’s shares lowered 7,6%  after the company announced that it would decrease production by 350 thousand tons per year. The cut-down takes place in Alcoa’s smelters in Ferndale, Washington; and Baie Comeau, Quebec. Alcoa runs the Fjarðaál aluminium smelter in Reyðarfjörður, east Iceland. Earlier the company had announced 256 thousand ton cutback in Rockdale, Texas which means that Alcoa’s production downturn is 15%.
Alcoa also announced that a 2,2 million ton enlargement of an aluminium smelter in Wagerup, Australia would be delayed.  The project’s estimated cost was between 3 and 4 million dollars and Alcoa said it will restart when the state of market change. According to experts, there is still redundance of aluminium on the market.

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Nov 11 2008

Búðarháls Dam and RT-Alcan Production Increase Delayed


Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national energy company, has announced that the tender offer of the dam Búðarhálsvirkjun will be delayed because of the current economical situation. This means that the planned expansion of Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminium smelter in Straumsvík will also be delayed. Construction of Búðarhálsvirkjun, which was stopped a number of years ago, will dam the Tungnaá River, close to the lake Langisjór.

The construction of Búðarhálsvirkjun is expected to be around 25 billion ISK and the 85 MW dam is supposed to power R.T. Alcan’s increased production in Straumsvík, Hafnarfjörður. R.T. Alcan hopes to increase its production by 40 thousand tons per year without enlarging the smelter. But the company also hopes to enlarge the smelter further, though the people of Hafnarfjörður voted against it in a 2007 referendum, or to construct a new smelter i Thorlakshofn. The dam is also meant to create power for Verne Holdin’s data center to be built in Reykjanesbær. Read More

Nov 03 2008
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Iceland Sinks


Haukur Már Helgason, Il Manifesto (Italian daily) – Last April, the government published a report about “Iceland’s image”, written by a committee of leading business people in Iceland. The report summarizes Iceland’s history thus: “For a long time, the nation lived through hardships, but once it achieved freedom and independence it took a leap from being a developing country to becoming one of the richest nations in the world, in less than a century.”

This October, the only growing business sector in Iceland is body guards. It’s booming. For the first time in Iceland’s history, the heads of state, politicians and stock exchange „entrepreneurs“ are surrounded by professional muscle-men. After six to ten years of private ownership, and constant staggering growth, all three major banks in Iceland collapsed in a week, unable to pay their debts. Economically they had become 10 times bigger than Iceland itself. The state, led by the Central bank re-nationalized all three of them, one by one. Read More

Nov 02 2008

Alcoa Smelter in Bakki Delayed as Test Drilling is Postponed


Preperation for a new aluminium smelter in Bakki by Húsavík, has been delayed and the test drilling for geothermal power plants around lake Mývatn have been laid off. A memorandum of understanding between Landsvirkjun (Iceland’s national energy company) and Alcoa was not renewed now in the beginning of November as Alcoa is not ready to put more finance in to more drilling.
The Bakki smelter was supposed to be powered by geothermal plants in Þingeyjasýsla, near lake Mývatn. Four billion Krona’s worth of test drillings were scheduled for next year, both in Krafla and Þeistareykir. Alcoa was supposed to pay half of the cost. The decision on the future of the drilling will now be delayed for at least one year, according to a joint announcement by Landsvirkjun, Alcoa and Þeistareykir efh.

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Nov 01 2008

Protests in Guinea – Direct Action Stops Bauxite Transport


In Guinea, West Africa, people have stopped trains from Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) that move bauxite from mines to the harbors. Bauxite is the major raw material for aluminium production and Guinea is the world’s biggest bauxite exporter. The protests started yesterday morning, October 31st and have been increasing since than.
Protesters have been seeking out officialdom´s houses, robbed them and put fire to many houses. At least one woman died during riots that resulted from the actions. Today, the protesters have managed to stop many  trains interrupting the transport of bauxite, which is the country’s biggest export product. Read More