Articles Archive

Sep 05 2005

Direct Action Floods Iceland by T. Troughton


Corporate Watch
Newsletter 25

suckscr

Direct action against the Karahnjukar hydro-electric dam project in Iceland has started in earnest. The dam will devastate Western Europe’s last pristine wilderness, solely to power an Alcoa aluminium smelter (see Corporate Watch number 23, April May 2005, page 9)

In June, three activists invaded the 10th World Aluminium Conference, Reykjavik, covering speakers from Alcoa and Bechtel (who are building the smelter) in green yoghurt during their talk on ‘sustainable’ aluminium. All three were charged with causing up to £50,000 of damage. British activist Paul Gill was held for four days. With the construction of the dam now more than half complete, an international protest camp has been set up near to the site. Over 30 people have gathered to organise direct action against the continuing devastation of global ecology in the interest of corporate profits. The 19th July saw Iceland’s first ever lock on blockade, when 25 activists shut down the site for three hours, locking on to a Caterpillar construction vehicle and a pick up truck at the main junction in the site and blocking two other access roads. Fifteen were arrested and later released without charge. Impreglio, the Italian construction firm building the dam, threatened to take civil charges against the activists but has since backtracked. Experts concur that 90% of the irreversible environmental damage will be done only when the water floods the land, so its not too late to protect Iceland’s ecology, and with Smyril Line offering a round trip on the ferry for £49 from Shetland, what better place is there to spend the rest of your summer?

ANARCHY IN ICELAND

Iceland was under attack. Violent international protestors were arriving on its shores, fresh from the G8 and bent on futher destruction. The Icelandic police were calling for the urgent tightening of border controls. Laws had just been passed allowing foreigners to have their phones tapped, their houses searched, and their possessions confiscated, all without warrants. News presenters were emitting warning gouts of Icelandic, spattered with the word ‘Anarkisti!’, alongside blown-up images of figures in IRA balaclavas. There was muttered talk, on all sides, of terrorism. Read More

Sep 03 2005
3 Comments

Surprise, surprise!


Banana

Saving Iceland
28 July 2007

In view of the police repression and slander campaign unleashed against Saving Iceland in the last few days by the Icelandic State and National Broadcaster RUV we feel it is important that this is compared with the following article from our campaign in 2005. This is particularly relevant in terms of the resurfacing threats of deportations.
Read More

Aug 29 2005

Iceland: Dam Nation by Merrick


Hjalladalur 

With the growing awareness of climate change, carbon emission restrictions may not be too far off. Because countries that pollute the most may well get the heaviest restrictions, rather than seeking to reduce their emissions many industrial corporations are looking to move operations abroad.
Iceland, despite modern European levels of education, welfare and wealth, has almost no heavy industry. Their carbon rations will be up for grabs. Seeing the extra pollution coming, in 2001 Iceland got a 10% increase on the CO2 limits imposed by the Kyoto treaty. The problem is that the lack of heavy industry means a lack of the major power supply needed for such things. But Iceland has glacial rivers in vast areas unpopulated by humans; land for hydroelectric dams that can be seen as carbon-neutral. Read More

Aug 17 2005
7 Comments

We who have been protesting…


Saving Iceland
Reykjavík

We who have been protesting against heavy industry and the devastating destruction of Iceland’s natural environment at Kárahnjúkar in the Eastern highlands of Iceland and in other parts of the country in recent months would like to take the opportunity to make the following statement:

During our protests we have used methods which may not have a long tradition in Iceland but which do not constitute a breach of the law. We are a broad-based group of Icelanders and people of many other nationalities united by our respect for the natural environment and our intolerance of repression, the misuse of power and the violation of human rights. Read More

Aug 12 2005

Some articles on the blockades at Kárahnjúkar


Second blockade at Kárahnjúkar :
 http://society.guardian.co.uk/societygua…

Second blockade at Kárahnjúkar :
 http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandrevi…

First blockade at Kárahnjúkar :
 http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandrevi…

Jun 20 2005
2 Comments

Answers from those Arrested at Hotel Nordica 14 June 2005


Answers to common questions about the ‘skyr action’ at Hotel Nordica 14 June, 2005.

 

the messenger 

Why this conference?

* It was a conference for aluminium and the related industry leaders from all over the world.

* They were here because they think Iceland is right for heavy industrial development. Ironically, this is down to its clean environmental record.

* The people gathered there were key decision makers, financiers and policy drivers behind the Karahnjukar project and other heavy industry developments across Iceland which we oppose.

* A session entitled “An Approach to Sustainability for a Greenfield Aluminium Smelter” started at 11:45 on the day. Hosted by Joe Wahba of Bechtel Corporation and T.M. Sigurdsson of Alcoa, the outrageous hypocrisy of the seminar was extremely provocative to those who truly aspire to the ecological value of sustainability. Read More

Jun 04 2005

The Grapes of Vaði – Interview with Guðmundur Ármannsson Farmer at Vað and Host to Saving Iceland Protest Camp in 2005


Grapevine Issue 6, August 2004 with update Jan. 2006

In the 1930s, dust storms swept the southern plains of the United States. The “Black Blizzards,” as they were called, had come about because of overfarming, which had caused the topsoil to wear thin and become dust. Crops failed, and as the banks that held the mortgages realised they would not be getting returns on their interest, farmers were run off of their land. Their plight is immortalised in the songs of Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck’s book “The Grapes of Wrath”, which went on to become a Hollywood film starring Henry Fonda as Steinbeck´s protagonist Tom Joad. Read More

May 15 2005
1 Comment

‘Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Project – Estimate of Profitability’ by Thorsteinn Siglaugsson, MBA


Prepared for the Iceland Nature Conservation Association
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson MBA
Reykjavik 2002

Extract

Introduction

Landsvirkjun, the state-owned electric power company in Iceland has for some time been planning a large hydropower plant in the area north of Vatnajokull, Europe´s largest glacier in the east of Iceland. The facility would be built to produce electricity for a 390,000 ton aluminium smelter in Reydarfjördur on the east coast of Iceland.

Until recently a consortioum of Icelandic banks, pension funds and the Norwegian company Norsk Hydro planned to build and run the Reydarfjordur smelter, a prerequisite for initiating the Karahnjukar project. Early 2002 Norsk Hydro decided to postpone its final decision on the project. Subsequently the Icelandic government decided to seek other investors. In september Alcoa and the government signed an agreement to take up talks to build a 295,000 ton smelter in Reydarfjordur run on electric power from the Karahnjukar plant.

According to a previous study conducted for the Iceland Nature Conservation Association the Karahnjukar plant would not be financially viable when valued based on market rates of interest and return on equity expected for a comparable project. As a state owned company Landsvirkjun does however enjoy full financial backing from the state of Iceland and is able to borrow at sovereign rates. The Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation prepared an assessment of Landsvirkjun´s plans in September 2001 confirming that the project could support the cost of capital demanded by Landsvirkjun based on Landsvirkjun´s estimate of future power prices.

There are considerable differences between the current and earlier plans. The size of the power plant is different as well as the expected investment. The buyer profile is different which no doubt has an effect on interest rates and the construction timeline for the Karahnjukar plant is considerably shorter according to the current plans.

This report aims to compare the financial characteristics of the earlier plans for the Karahnjukar plant with the current plans. This includes an analysis of buyer risk profile, estimate of probable power price based on current and forecasted aluminium prices and the constraints provided by the general cost structure in the aluminium industry.

Read the report here or on the original site

Apr 13 2005

Saving Iceland: The Buck Stops Here


CorporateWatch.org
Newsletter Issue 23 April/May 2005

falki

In March 2004, the government of Iceland held a conference in the capital Reykjavik. It was a private conference, attended by representatives of the top multinational corporations, Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Alcan among them, and the population were not told about it in advance. Iceland, a government spokesman informed its people afterwards, was now open for business. Read More

Mar 05 2005

Icelandic Wetlands Saved


Lowana Veal

The Thjorsarver wetlands in South Iceland have been saved from the ravages of a hydro-electric scheme, at least for the foreseeable future.

Thjorsarver is a wetlands area that became listed as a RAMSAR site in 1990, principally because it is home to the world’s largest breeding ground for pink-footed geese, 6-10,000 breeding pairs. But many other birds nest there too, such as the purple sandpiper, red-necked phalarope, dunlin, Arctic tern, Arctic skua, ptarmigan, golden and ringed plovers, snow bunting and long-tailed duck. Botanically, it is home to 167 species of vascular plants as well as mosses and lichens, some of them rare. The insect life is rich.

Paradoxically, the designation of RAMSAR and nature reserve status should mean that the area be left untouched – but those with vested interests appeared to disregard this point. Read More