'ALCOA' Tag Archive

Jan 24 2011
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No Alcoa Smelter in Bakki?


According to sources close to the business newspaper Viðskiptablaðið, Alcoa has lost all patience with the situation in Húsavík and will drop plans to build a proposed aluminium smelter in the region.

The project has been fraught with obstacles since its inception. Most notably, Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir has been an outspoken opponent of the plan. A damning assessment from the Icelandic National Planning Agency concluded that the proposed smelter would also have a “significant negative impact” on the environment not just of the surrounding area, but on Iceland as a whole. A few days ago Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s National Energy company, announced that they would neither fight for or against the protection of the area and that they will not perform “test” drills in Gjástykki (a globally unique geothermal area in the north of Iceland with ravines, faults, lava fields and volcanic craters) until the government had completed the process of protecting the area, even if they had got a go a head to do so by the National Energy Authority. Read More

Dec 21 2010

Become an Aluminum Scrooge for the World’s Rivers


Lori Pottinger
Huffington Post
21 December 2010

Please, ma’am, just put down the aluminum foil and no one gets hurt.

It’s a little known fact that this simple kitchen product has a Dickensian dark side. So as you serve your guests canned beverages, “tent” your turkey, cover the yams, or wrap leftovers at the end of the party, keep in mind that the aluminum products you’re using have their roots in a dirty industry — one that frankly deserves a lump of coal in its stocking for how it’s mistreating the planet.

The aluminum industry is the world’s largest industrial consumer of electricity, and about half of what it uses comes from hydropower dams. Aluminum companies troll the world looking for big dam projects that can power new smelters, often targeting rivers in ecologically sensitive areas in developing countries, and frequently in places where basic needs for the population’s energy are not being met. Read More

Dec 20 2010
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The Dark Side of Green Power: A Modern Icelandic Saga


In the land of trolls, hidden fairies and enchanted volcanoes, a modern, more sinister power is looming: aluminum smelting and electricity companies Ella Rubeli reports

Iceland is a country in constant change. A volcanic kingdom, since the dawn of time a war has waged between fire and ice. The remote island nation lies across a fissure between the continental plates of America and Europe, which are in constant rift, tearing tissues of earth apart and sporadically releasing surges of lava and gushing geysers. Since man learnt to harness this earthly power, the culture of Iceland has changed dramatically.

Suspended from the ceiling of the world, Iceland is a leading light in renewable energy production. A land of magnificent glacier-carved fjords and heat that blisters up through the earth’s core, it produces energy far beyond its domestic needs – all from hydroelectric power and geothermal plants. But this clean, cheap energy brings in polluting industry and international corporations. Read More

Nov 29 2010
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Damning Environmental Assessment of ALCOA’s Smelter Plans for Northern Iceland


November 25th, the joint Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Alcoa’s planned 346 thousand ton aluminum smelter at Bakki, Húsavík, was finally published. In response, Iceland’s National Planning Agency released an extremely critical commentary regarding the planned smelter and the geothermal plants that are supposed to power it.

It states that:

– Environmental impacts of the project are high and cannot be mitigated.
– 17,000 ha of untouched wilderness will be affected
– Greenhouse gas emissions of the project would constitute 14% of Iceland’s total.
– There is a high amount of uncertainty regarding the full impact of the planned geothermal power plants and particularly their impact of the geothermal energy resource base.
– The assessed energy projects are not sufficient to power the smelter, with 140 MW of capacity missing.

“These reports confirms three key elements of critique that Saving Iceland voiced now several years ago,” says Jaap Krater, a spokesperson for Saving Iceland. Read More

Oct 14 2010
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Bending All the Rules, Just for Alcoa


Following is a short clip from the documentary ‘Dreamland’, made by Andri Snær Magnason and Þorfinnur Guðnason in 2009. Here you can see Friðrik Sóphusson, then head of Landsvirkjun (Icelandic Power Company), telling the American ambassador in Iceland how they are “bending all the rules, just for this” referring to the Alcoa project in Reyðarfjörður.

Jul 16 2010
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Greenland’s Decision: Nature or Culture?


Miriam Rose

Climate change has made Greenland the next industrial frontier, but at what cost?

 

 

Humanity is in denial. We know that our hyperactive extraction of fuels, metals and minerals, and their dirty processing, consuming and dumping for our consumer ‘growth’ society is killing the planet and ourselves. We also know that all of these sugary treats are finite. But like an insolent toddler we continue; more and more, faster and faster – running in denial from the planetary spanking that is undoubtedly coming our way.

I have often hoped that the global emergency of climate change, combined with the inescapable reality of peak oil would wake us up from this selfish resource-gorging, and perhaps it still will before it is too late (too late: I.e tomorrow? 2012? 2020? a few months ago?). But in the meantime,  nature has given western capitalism one last laugh. As the ice drips and cracks from Greenland’s white mass it is exposing a treasure trove of minerals, metals, ores and oil (one of the highest concentrations in the world), and plentiful hydro-power to help us heat, break and alter them into things we ‘need’. Just as the candle wick flares and gutters on our oil-driven consumptive society Greenland’s bounty has given it one more chance. One last bright flame, to hide from us the surrounding darkness.

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Jul 13 2010
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Saving Iceland Mobilisation Call-Out


Join our resistance against the industrialization of Europe’s last remaining great wilderness and take direct action against heavy industry!

The Struggle So Far
The campaign to defend Europe’s greatest remaining wilderness continues. For the past five years summer direct action camps in Iceland have targeted aluminium smelters, mega-dams and geothermal power plants.

After the terrible destruction as a result of building Europe’s largest dam at Kárahnjúkar and massive geothermal plants at Hengill, there is still time to crush the ‘master plan’ that would have each major glacial river dammed, every substantial geothermal field exploited and the construction of aluminium smelters, an oil refinery, data farms and silicon factories. This would not only destroy unique landscapes and ecosystems but also lead to a massive increase in Iceland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Read More

Jul 06 2010

Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel


Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel
By Felix Padel and Samarendra Das
Published by Orient BlackSwan

Aluminium is a metal that many take for granted in hundreds of artifacts but fewer understand where it comes from and its real costs. Behind the shining image of aluminium is a dark side of environmental catastrophes, political manipulations and cultural genocide.

Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel written by Felix Padel and Samarendra Das is an extraordinary book that explores the aluminium industry over its entire life cycle, from the mining of Bauxite to its various end uses.

With a foreward by Arundathi Roy it focuses on the Adivasis struggle against  mining activities in the state of Odisha (former Orissa). There industrialization is imposed under the guise of development, growth and poverty alleviation, a process that has already displaced thousands of people and destroyed tribal society‘s structures. The book traces a hidden history of how one country after another has swallowed promises of prosperity and plunged into a cycle of exploitation and unrepayable debt. One of the real contributions of Out of This Earth is the commendable effort of the authors to painstakingly trace the forces that actually drive and control the global aluminium industry – how it is driven by a cartel that fuses mining companies, investment bankers, government deals, metals traders and arms manufacturers. Read More

May 18 2010
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Landsvirkjun´s Spin on their Energy Prices to Heavy Industry


 

Aluminium PricesThe deals on energy prices between Landsvirkjun (Iceland´s National Energy company) and the aluminum companies working in Iceland have been kept secret from the public since they got signed. The only notion the public had was a pamphlet called ”Lowest Energy Prices”, published in 1995 to lure heavy industry to the country, which like the name states, was filled with promises about cheap, greenwashed, energy. Looking at surrounding countries many estimated that the prices were close to a half of what households in Iceland pay. But after Alain Belda, Alcoa´s president, had the now famous slip of his tounge in Brazil that revealed that they were paying $15 for the MWh (megawatt hour), and RUV´s (Icelandic National Broadcasting Association) exposure of Century Aluminum´s prices earlier in the year, Landsvirkjun decided to open their books in, what they call ”an attempt to create peace around the company´s actions”. In reality they´re just blowing smoke in people faces with well chosen figures in a desperate attempt to save the companies already ruined credibility.

The Price Revealed
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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

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