HELGUVIK (ICELAND) – Early this morning activists from over 10 countries occupied the construction site where California-based Century Aluminum are constructing a new aluminium smelter, and chained themselves to machinery. The protest by the campaign Saving Iceland is aimed at damage to geothermal areas in southwest Iceland and Century’s environmental and human rights abuses in Jamaica and Africa.
As well as Century, other aluminium corporations ALCOA and Rio Tinto-Alcan want to construct new smelters. This would require exploitation of all the geothermal areas in the country, as well as damming all major glacial rivers (1).
Impact assessment: ’pollution will just blow away’
The construction of Century’s Helguvík plant depends on the expansion of geothermal power plants east of Reykjavik (Hellisheiði) and on the Reykjanes peninsula southwest of Reykjavik (2). Construction of the smelter began in June, without a valid environmental impact assessment. There is also no guarantee of sufficient energy (435 MW) for the smelter (3).
The environmental impact assessment for the Helguvik smelter was produced by the construction engineers HRV, who have designed smelters for ALCOA and Century (4). Read More