'Century Aluminum' Tag Archive

Oct 26 2008
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More Power Plants May Cause More Economic Instability


Jaap Krater, Morgunblaðið, 26-10-2008

In times of economic crisis, it is tempting to embrace new megaprojects such as new power plants and aluminium smelters. But will this realistically improve Iceland’s economic prospects?

Prime minister Geir Haarde recently explained on Stöd 2’s chat show Mannamál that one of the main reasons for the fall of the Krona, was due to the execution of heavy industry projects: the construction of Kárahnjúkar and Alcoa’s smelter in Reyðarfjörður. If more large projects are executed, what will the cost be for the Icelandic taxpayer?

Haarde’s comments were not surprising. Before construction of Kárahnjúkar many economists predicted the negative impact on inflation, foreign debt and the exchange rate of the ISK.

Of course there is some economic benefit from new smelters, but “it is probably outweighed by the developments’ indirect impact on demand, inflation, interest rates and the ISK exchange rate,” stated a report by Glitnir in 2006 on the impact of aluminium expansion in Iceland. The report expected an increase in inflation and a depreciation of the ISK.

“Kárahnjúkar will never make a profit, and the Icelandic taxpayer may well end up subsidising Alcoa,” said the eminent economist Thorsteinn Siglaugsson after publishing another report on the profitability of the Alcoa dam in East Iceland before construction commenced. Read More

Oct 26 2008

From One Mess to Another


Andri Snær Magnason, Fréttablaðið – In these turbulent times interested parties use the opportunity to offer us “solutions” and relief. This time around it involves “alleviating all restrictions” and putting public energy companies up as 300 – 400 milliard collateral for two to three new aluminium plants. This is what is on the drawing board when the total debt of OR and LV (the central public energy institutions) are already at a dizzying 550 milliards – mostly because of Alcoa and Norðurál (Century Aluminum). This is why the banks always preached large-scale industry policies – more debt – more joy. It’s down to the price of aluminium to repay these loans, but aluminium prices are plummeting and a level of overproduction has already been reached. The nation believes that the magic term EXPORT EARNINGS is money that will end up in the nation’s pocket. News of export earnings and foreign currency receipts have time and again been directly false and treacherous. A bar chart published in the Morgunblaðið newspaper the 11th of October depicts the aluminium industry as more important than the fishing industry and considerably larger than the tourism industry. But the presentation is exactly as the INTERESTED PARTIES would like to have it portrayed in the media. When Alcoa Fjarðaál claims to export for 70 milliards a year, most Icelanders believe that this is currency that we can use. Read More

Oct 26 2008

Protestor Killed in Guinea Bauxite Mining Protest


CONAKRY, GUINEA – At least one person was killed when police in Guinea cleared protesters from a railway carrying bauxite for Russian aluminium company RUSAL, police and industry sources said on Friday the 10th of October. RUSAL, after it’s merger with Glencore, is the largest owner of Century Aluminum, which owns the Grundartangi smelter in Iceland and has been preparing to construct a new smelter at Helguvik, south of Reykjavik. The trains, which have been blocked for five days, had still not restarted, the sources added. Read More

Oct 24 2008

“Building smelters part of economic crisis,” says Björk


”They are saying in the paper every day, let’s throw up these aluminium smelters because of the economic crisis. This is a bad idea because in a way building smelters is part of the economic crisis. These huge loans that companies take is too big a chunk for the Icelandic economy to pay. We are on an economic roller coaster ride right now,” said Björk in a recent interview with ITN news. Read More

Oct 23 2008

Century Stops Investment in Helguvik Smelter


Century Aluminum announced in a statement it is reconsidering the planned smelter in Helguvík. It said it has stopped making any new capital commitments due to the global financial crisis.

“In the current environment, we have ceased making any new capital commitments and are reducing project spending. We believe the potential exists for a prudent way forward over time, but will soberly evaluate the feasibility of all elements of the project during the near term,” (1) said Logan Kruger, Century’s CEO.

While Century Aluminum’s revenue for the third quarter of 2008 rose due to an increase in aluminium shipments (2), prospects were deemed less rosy. Merrill Lynch downgraded Century Aluminum’s investment rating to ‘underperform’. It said aluminium pricing is weak, inventories of the metal are high and there are little catalysts to drive the price up.

“Some might think this is bad news for Iceland and that a new smelter could help with the economic crisis. But when we looked at what happened with Alcoa Fjardaal and Karahnjukar, a cancellation of Helguvik may be a blessing in disguise,” says Saving Iceland’s Jaap Krater. Read More

Sep 18 2008
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Solidarity Actions in Copenhagen – No More Dams; No More Smelters!


Today we received a letter from Denmark:

This morning, big banners were hanged on a building in Copenhagen saying: ,,Aluminium Industry is destroying all major Icelandic rivers!” A big advertisment from Icelandair Airline Company, showing Icelandic rivers, was hanging on this same wall last week.

The construction of the planned new Century aluminium smelter in Helguvík and Alcoa’s smelter in Húsavík, will lead to damming of more glacial rivers and geothermal areas. Today it looks like dams will be built in Þjórsá River, Tungnaá, Skjálfandafljót and Jökulsá á Fjöllum; only for further heavy industry projects.

Read More

Aug 30 2008

Letter about Crazy Horse to Saving Iceland


From Reverend Billy

A year ago we were with you in Iceland, the land of fire and ice and spirits and charms! This year we get news and images on the computers. Congratulations on the Century Aluminum Smelter blockade. You slowed down the output from that day, July 21, 2008. You’re saving lives! Every hour that an F-16 is not yet in the air…

Wandering your website, I remember my sermon last year. I tried to conjure the memory of Crazy Horse and bring his spirit to your struggle for Iceland. Savitri remembers the recurring phrase, “The land is innocent and powerful.” I don’t remember much of the specifics of my talk that afternoon, which was itself an on-the-spot remembering. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the river valley in our windows and simultaneously my boyhood love of the stories of Crazy Horse, from when my family lived in the Dakotas.

And so if you will read this letter, and help us bring back that day in the hotel conference room in Olfus… Writing is an act of memory and by writing this letter to you today — maybe some of your year-ago campaign, and our sermon within it, will resurface in these pages. Read More

Aug 11 2008

Injured Century and Elkem Workers Forced Back to Work


According to the workers union of Akranes it is standard procedure that Century Aluminum – Norðurál and Elkem-Icelandic Alloys at Hvalfjordur push injured workers to come back to work as soon as possible. They do it quite roughly, even though the workers have medical papers proving that they are not able to work at all, MBL.is reports. Read More

Aug 11 2008

Blowing up Mountains, Taking Drugs and Pink Toilets


Jaap Krater, Iceland Review – As someone who has been active with Saving Iceland for a number of years, I read James Weston’s column about media coverage on our campaign with much amusement. Many of his comments are not only funny but also have a ring of truth.
For me, they also illustrate something that is quite sad. People watch TV and see others chaining themselves to machines, according to polls most might even agree with them that they do not want more dams or smelters, and they get bored. Read More

Aug 10 2008
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The Camp is Over – The Fight Goes on


Saving Iceland’s fourth action camp is now over but the fight goes on. This year we stayed on Hellisheiði for three weeks, where Reykjavík Energy is expanding their geothermal power plant, first of all to supply energy to aluminium smelters. We enjoyed the summer in this amazing environment which is now in danger because of the construction. This summer we put a special focus on the global impact of aluminium production, how it is does not only effect Iceland, but the whole world; it’s environment, humans and other species. Read More

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