'Century Aluminum' Tag Archive

Jun 10 2011
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Increased Sulphur Pollution in Reykjavík Due to Geothermal Expansion in Hellisheiði


The Public Health Authority of Reykjavík is highly critical of the recently published preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a 45 MW construction of geothermal power plants at Gráuhnjúkar on Hellisheiði. The reason is that the EIA, carried out by engineering firm Mannvit, hardly mentions the possible effects of the project’s sulphur pollution on the human population living in the capital area of Reykjavík. “They mention the impacts of increased amount of hydrogen sulphide at the power plant area, but hardly mention the capital area where a high proportion of the population lives” said Árný Sigurðardóttir from the Public Health Authority in an interview with newspaper Fréttablaðið. The power plant in Hellisheiði is only about 30 km away from Reykjavík.

Since October 2006 Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (Reykjavík Energy) has produced geothermal energy on Hellisheiði, predominantly for the Norðurál/Century aluminium smelter in Grundartangi, Hvalfjörður. Since then increased sulphur pollution in the power plant’s surrounding area, as well as in the area around Reykjavík, has regularly become a topic of discussion and Sigurðardóttir says that the pollution’s impacts are systematically underestimated. Instead of using recent researches into the issue, Mannvit bases the EIA on prediction-models, but new studies by the University of Reykjavík indicate that the increased use of medicine for asthma and heart disease angina pectoris is directly linked to increased sulphur pollution. Read More

May 25 2011
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More Flouride in Animals Around Aluminium Factories than Elsewhere – Environmental Agency Refuses to Investigate


For the last two years, a horse-farmer close to the Norðurál/Century aluminium smelter in Grundartangi, Hvalfjörður, has tried to get supervisory bodies to investigate mysterious sickness, which her horses suffer from. According to recent studies, a great amount of fluoride has been found in the bones of horses close to Grundartangi, much more than in horses in the north of Iceland. In an interview with RÚV (Iceland’s state-owned TV station) last week, the farmer, Ragnheiður Þorgrímsdóttir, said that since June 2007, one horse after another has become sick; their movements are stiff and their hoofs seem to grow unnaturally. Read More

Apr 20 2011
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The Government Stands or Falls with the Þjórsá River Conflict


Iceland’s government’s majority in parliament stands and falls with one particular parliament member from the Left Green party (VG), Guðfríður Lilja Grétarsdóttir, who is strongly opposed to the planned triple damming of Lower Þjórsá river. This became clear last week, on April 13th, when a motion of no confidence, proposed by the right wing conservative party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn), was discussed in parliament. Read More

Mar 28 2011

Iceland Divided Over Aluminum’s Role in its Future


The Los Angeles Times
Henry Chu, Reporting from Grundartangi, Iceland

Some say aluminum is vital to Iceland’s budding economic recovery. Others say the industry was at the root of the nation’s 2008 economic collapse.

Part of the cure — or cause — of Iceland’s spectacular economic meltdown sits here on a rugged fiord backed by frigid blue waters and snowcapped mountains. Read More

Mar 22 2011
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Icelanders Not Impressed By Heavy Industry


Grapevine.is

Most Icelanders would like to see their country’s economy turn towards innovative industries rather than aluminium smelters, a new survey shows.

Vísir reports on the results of an online poll conducted by the business analysis company Miðlun. Respondents were asked what the most important field of employment was.

Of those who responded, 30.8% said domestic industry should be a top priority. This was followed by companies focusing on innovation (18.1%) and jobs related to the fishing industry (14.7%).

Only 13% said they believed heavy industry was the most important area of unemployment that Iceland needs to focus on. Read More

Mar 06 2011

National Energy Authority Fears Overexploitation of Geothermal Areas in Reykjanes


H.S. Orka, an Icelandic energy company recently bought by Canadian firm Magma Energy, has to widen its planned drilling area for the planned enlargement of Reykjanes geothermal power plant and proof that enough energy can be found on a larger area then already arranged for. These are conditions required from the National Energy Authority (NEA), which fears overexploitation of geothermal areas on the Reykjanes peninsula, in the south-west corner of Iceland. An aluminium smelter in Helguvík, which has been in the making for the last few years, is dependent on the enlargement. Read More

Mar 01 2011

Local Resistance to Dams in Lower Thjorsa Solidarity Meeting


Sól a Suðurlandi, the local grass roots resistance group to the projected dams in Lower Thjorsa (Þjórsá) river, call a solidarity meeting tomorrow, March 2, in Reykjavik. The meeting will focus on demands that the three projected dams be stopped and that reconciliation be reached in communities that have been split for many years because of the plans for the dams. Read More

Feb 15 2011
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The Þjórsá Farce Continues – Are the Dams Planned for Aluminium Production?


A decision by Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Environment, to reject the construction of a dam in Urriðafoss waterfall in Þjórsá river, has been ruled illegal by Iceland’s supreme court. Whilst Svavardóttir and her comrades in government accept the ruling, and say the Minstry of Environment now has to look into the case and examine the legal environment, the right wing opposition in parliament, along with heavy industry lobbyists, demand the ministers’ resignation, claiming that she has delayed all construction in the area for two years. People living by Þjórsá have announced that these statements are wrong and ask for examples, while a MP accuses Landsvirkjun (the national energy company) of bribery. Read More

Jan 31 2011
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Century Aluminum Energy Questions


Century Aluminum (Nordural) intends to build an aluminium smelter at Helguvík for producing 250.000 tpy, using 435 MW of electricity. At one point the intended size grew to 600.000 tpy and 625 MW of electricity but those plans have been cancelled. The first phase of the smelter was expected to start in 2010 and the 250.000 ton should be reached in 2013. Now there are already some big structures at the smelter site but no energy has been produced and moreover, there is no energy available.

Sigmundur Einarsson, a geologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, has written some articles on this matter (in Icelandic). He has tried, amongst a number of other environmental scientists,  to warn the Icelandic government about a new kind of collapse, an energy collapse due to following far too optimistic speculation of irresponsible people. 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