Archive for December, 2009

Dec 30 2009

Vietnam’s Mega Bauxite Mine: A Social and Ecological Disaster


Al Jazeera has obtained the first footage of a massive bauxite mining project in central Vietnam which has created one of the biggest civil protest movements the country has ever seen. Vietnamese media have been banned from reporting on the proposed mine, which critics say will create major environmental damage, for little economic benefit.

Vietnam holds the third largest bauxite reserves worldwide and is increasingly subject to China’s growing desire for natural resources through its controlling diplomatic relationship with Vietnam. The $460 million project, which has already begun, is being carried out by Chinalco, a chinese aluminium company who own 10% shares in Rio Tinto, and Vinacomin, the Vietnamese partner.

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Dec 29 2009

Greenland’s Energy and Mineral Extraction Master-plan Revealed


As Greenland awakes from over 700 years of colonisation and heavy subsidisation by Denmark, it’s home rule government are promoting the development of huge hydro-power for aluminium smelters, and all the country’s other mineral and energy resources as a desperate measure to sustain their economy. The language of fear and imminent economic collapse used in the Prime Minister’s plan (below) is strongly reminiscent of the pro heavy-industry strategy in Iceland in the run up to the Kárahnjúkar dam, and right up to today.

The article attempts to justify aluminium production and other energy intensive extractive industries, claiming that using Greenland’s ‘green’ hydro energy will prevent ‘dirty’ emissions for the inevitable production of aluminium elsewhere. This is certainly the take of Alcoa who are ever keen to avoid carbon taxes, and claim that:
‘We have before us a wonderful opportunity to deliver mutual benefit to the people of Greenland and to Alcoa as we continue to work toward our common objective of building a world-class, sustainable aluminum smelter, powered by renewable hydroelectric energy in Greenland.’
The experience of Icelandic mega-hydro, as well as numerous studies have revealed this argument to be nothing but ‘greenwash’- a selling point for Alcoa, while carbon emissions, fluoride pollution, indigenous destruction, and weapons manufacture associated with aluminium production continue to rise unabated.
Plans for an aluminium smelter in Greenland have been reported since 2007, originally proposed by Norsk Hydro. Alcoa quickly stepped in and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in May 2007 for a smelter in the town of Nuuk, Sisimiut or Maniitsoq. The proposed smelter will begin at 350,000 tonnes (slightly larger than the enormous Fjardaal in Iceland) and will require 650 MW of energy from 2 dams, connected to the smelter by 240 km of powerlines. Public consultations are currently in progress with the next round in January 2010, with plans to have the smelter online by 2016.
In 2008 a contact in Greenland reported that most people there are in favour of the project, and with the urgent need for financial independence as they break away from Danish rule, this may well be the case. Greenland is geographically and politically isolated and lacks even the level of critique and information which Icelanders had in the run up to Karahnjukar, let alone the support of large NGO’s for the tiny environmental group who are trying to single-handedly address the many issues with the smelters and other developments there. Read More

Dec 20 2009

Iceland’s Embassy in Copenhagen Attacked: “Green Energy – Pure Lies”


The press release and photos here below appeared on the Danish Indymedia site last Wednesday, December 16th:

Early in the morning of Wednesday the 16th of december the Icelandic embassy in Copenhagen was attacked. A security camera was disabled with spray paint, the Icelandic coat of arms was defaced in the same way, green paint was splashed on the front of the house and on the front door, in large letters, “Green energy – pure lies” and “Nature Killers” was sprayed amongst other thing’s.

The Icelandic government boasts of it’s prowess in the production of “green” energy but there is no such thing as green energy, especially if it is then used for heavy industry. “Green” energy production is just as destructive to our environment as other energy production, the effects are just better hidden. The earth’s ecosystems are suffering because of mankinds actions, this must end.

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