'Century Aluminum' Tag Archive

Jul 18 2007

Saving Iceland Blockade Century and ELKEM Factories


Century smelterPress Release

GRUNDARTANGI – Saving Iceland has this afternoon closed the single supply road from Highway 1 to the Century/Nordural smelter in Hvalfjordur and the steel factory Elkem – Icelandic Alloys. Saving Iceland opposes the planned new Century smelter at Helguvik and the expansion of the Icelandic Alloys factory. Activists have used lock-ons (metal arm tubes) to form a human blockade on the road and have occupied a construction site crane.

Century Aluminum, a part of the recently formed Russian-Swiss RUSAL/ Glencore/SUAL conglomorate, want to build a second smelter in Iceland in Helguvik with a projected capacity of at least 250.000 metric tons per annum. The planned site is designed to accommodate further expansion. Grundartangi has this year been extended to 260.000 mtpa.

Currently, an environmental impact assessment (1) is under review for the Helguvik smelter, produced by the construction consultants HRV (Honnun/Rafhonnun/VST).

“It is absurd that an engineering company with a vested interest in the smelter construction could be considered to produce an objective impact assessment. The document makes absurd claims, such as that pollution is really not a problem because Helguvik is such a windy place that the pollution will just blow away,” says Saving Iceland’s Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson.”

“This smelter will demand new geothermal power plants at Seltún, Sandfell, Austurengjar and Trölladyngju. In addition to the Hengill area which has already been seriously damaged by Reykjavik Energy. The impact assessment does not take these into account, nor the impact of the huge amount of power lines and pylons required. The plants will ruin the natural and scenic value of the whole peninsula. Also, the recquired capacity, 400 MW, exceeds the natural capactity of the geothermal spots, and they will cool down in three to four decades (2). And Century admits it wants the site to expand further in the next decades. So it is obvious that this smelter will not just ruin Reykjanes but also need additional hydropower.”

The impact procedure seems to be completely irrelevant anyway, since the company has completed an equity offering worth $360 million to be deployed for partly financing the construction of the Helguvik smelter project (3). This indicates that Century already has high level assurances that the project is to continue no matter what.

This completely contradicts the claims the new government of Iceland, and particularly it’s environment minister Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, is opposed to new smelter projects.

Icelandic Alloys wants to expand its facility for producing ferrosilicon for the steel industry. It is in fact one of Iceland’s largest contributors to greenhouse gases and other pollutants (4).

“Expansion of Icelandic Alloys and Century considerably contribute to Iceland’s greenhouse emissions. If there are no further expansions of heavy industry beyond Grundartangi and ALCOA Fjardaal, Iceland will emit 38% more greenhouse gases than in 1990. If other expansion plans continue, levels would rise to an incredible 63% above 1990 levels. (5). That is completely irresponsible.

This shows that all the talk about ‘green energy’ from hydro and geothermal is, in reality, a lie. Icelanders have to rise up against these foreign corporations,” says Úlfhildarson. Read More

Jul 17 2007

Blackmail by Hengill


View from Hengill
July 18th 2007 a number of Saving Iceland activists made a courteous -first- visit to the Reykjavik Energy geothermal power station (Hellisheidarvirkjun), at Hengill volcano, to ask questions about the expansion of the geothermal power plant to provide electricity to aluminium smelters (Source: EIB). It is striking, that although the expansion of the Rio Tinto ALCAN smelter in Hafnarfjordur has been rejected by referendum, and other smelter projects in the south west are not definite, and the current Icelandic government says to oppose more smelters, Hellisheidi is still being expanded by Reykjavik Energy – at a cost of a whopping 379.06 million dollars. The Icelandic people are again blackmailed: once the expansion is completed, this will force Iceland into more smelters because the electricity needs to be sold to get investments back. The expansion must be stopped.

The Hengill geothermal area is one of the largest and most active geothermal zones in Iceland, with over 112 km2 of unique geological landscape featuring warm pools, hot springs and bubbling mud pools. The area is culturally and historically fascinating, located below and on the slopes of the dramatic Hengill volcano where travellers on their way to Reykjavik and Þingvellir have traced the ancient Cairns since Iceland’s first settlement. Þingvellir national park and Alþingi, the most precious Icelandic cultural landmark, can be seen from Hengill across the stunning lake þingvallavatn and stands to be affected by the developments here.

Geothermal Electricity
In addition to the existing geothermal boreholes and power plants at Hellisheiði, Reykjavik Energy has declared plans to vastly expand the number of boreholes and power stations in order to produce electricity planned Aluminium smelters at Keflavik and Hvalfjordur (Century) and an expansion to the Rio Tinto / Alcan plant at Hafnarfjordur. The implications of this exploitation are far-reaching.

  • Increased power generation means increased noise and industrial visual disturbance to this exceptionally rare and valuable landscape type.
  • Extraction of underground fluids leads to changes in groundwater movements, commonly including drying of unique hot springs and geysers and pollution of pure subsurface spring water.
  • Hot and toxic waste water is either disposed of by pumping it back into the borehole (as at Nesjavellir), commonly increasing the frequency of earthquakes in this very active fault zone, or it is pumped untreated into streams and lakes, wiping out valuable ecosystems as treatment is considered too expensive. The Northern end of lake þingvallavatn is already biologically dead in parts due to wastewater pumping and must be protected from more damage.

Green Energy?
RE and Landsvirkjun justify this tragedy under the guise of ‘green energy’, intended for the expansion of heavily polluting aluminium industry. The Aluminium industry is an environmental and social hazard from start to finish:

  • Mining of bauxite (raw Aluminium) destroys vast areas of tropical forest in Australia and the Amazon.
  • In the smelting countries, sulphur dioxide causes acid rain and potent greenhouse gases lead to climate change. 13 tons of CO2 are produced for every ton of aluminium.
  • The production process results in far more tonnage of pollution than aluminium, including fine red silt containing radioactive elements which cause cancer and silicosis in the developing countries in which they are mined.
  • Emissions of highly toxic fluorides poison fish and all other aquatic life.
  • After smelting, the aluminium is used to build cars, cans and planes and 30% of production goes to the military. ALCOA use the blurb ‘lighter, faster, stronger’ to advertise tanks, missiles, and F16s used to kill and maim civilians in Iraq and other controversial conflicts.
  • Smelters have a limited lifetime. They close after a few decades, leaving communities in disarray. This has happened in the US, in Suriname, Brazil, and many other countries. Geothermal plants are also limited in their lifespan. They are exhausted after a few decades, after which they need an unknown rest period.

Suggesting that Iceland has an ethical duty to sell all it’s energy possibilities, whether green or not, is an insult to our intelligence.

Change
In recent years the public consciousness against such damaging and outdated heavy industry has grown. In September 2006 15,000 people marched in Reykjavik and around the country as the exceptionally beautiful Karahnjukar highlands were finally and tragically drowned. For the third year, Icelandic and international activists have gathered in the wild of this incredible country to protest the blackening of this pure land by heavy industry. We welcome all those who share a love for nature and are willing to stand up against its destruction. Read More

Jul 09 2007
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SUMMER OF INTERNATIONAL DISSENT AGAINST HEAVY INDUSTRY


Hreindyr

Hálslón, Kárahnjúkar, October 2006

A summer of International dissent and action against Heavy Industry – swarming around Iceland from the 6th of July 2007

Updated July 10th. The campaign to defend Europe’s vastest remaining wilderness continues. After the direct action camps in Iceland’s mountain highlands in the summers of 2005 and 2006 against the Kárahnjúkar dam and ALCOA’s Reydarfjordur aluminium smelter, the Saving Iceland campaign moves on to bring Iceland’s aluminium Heavy Industrialisation to a halt.

New plans for dams, power plants, aluminium smelters and other forms of heavy industry need to be stopped. The culprits include corporations such as ALCOA, ALCAN, Century Aluminum, Hydro, Rusal, Impregilo, Bechtel, Barclays, Mott McDonald, etc… Iceland, with it’s vast geothermal and megahydro possibilities, is a new frontier for cheap energy craving industrial moguls who see nothing worth saving in Iceland’s legendary wilderness.

This camp will bring together activists from all over the world, including activists from social movements in India, South America, Africa, Europe and North America. Stopping the industrialisation and ecological destruction of the last unspoilt country in the west would be a major victory for the green movement and a new incentive for a global movement against industrialisation and ecocide. Join us. Read More

Jul 05 2007

Century Smelter to Pay Less for Energy than Farmers


Iceland Review
06/07/2007

Reykjavík Energy Company (Orkuveita Reykjavikur) revealed yesterday that Century Aluminum Iceland (Nordurál) would pay ISK 2.1 (USD 0.03, EUR 0.02) for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) for a planned smelter, while greenhouse farmers pay twice as much.

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Jun 17 2007

The National Theatre Adorned with Iceland’s New Flag.


Thjodleikhusbanner

17 June 2007

The National Theatre is adorned with Iceland’s new flag.

At around 4pm on Sunday 17th June, National Day, a giant new Icelandic flag was revealed from the roof of the National Theatre, located on Hverfisgata, facing the Arnarholl on Lækjargata where thousands of people stood for the festivities. The flag, which was 25m long, had a shield with the logos of the alluminum companies: ALCOA, ALCAN and Norðurál (also known as Century Aluminum) in the centre of a new Icelandic flag. The activists wished to express that far from being an independant nation, Iceland has been taken over by the aluminium industry with all the democracy defecit that comes with such powerful corporations. Read More

Apr 24 2007

Secret Agreement Reached on Energy Sale to Century in Helguvík


Nordurál (Century Aluminum) and Sudurnes Energy Company (Hitaveita Suðurnesja) signed an agreement yesterday on the sale of energy for Nordurál’s planned smelter in Helguvík on Reykjanes peninsula, west of Reykjavík.

According to the agreement, Sudurnes Energy Company will provide the Nordurál smelter in Helguvík with electricity; it will provide 150 megawatts for the first production stage, which could be used for producing 150,000 tons of aluminum. Read More

Jan 06 2007

2007 Saving Iceland Protest Camp and International Conference


A summer of International dissent and action against Heavy Industry – swarming around Iceland from the 6th of July 2007

2007 Protest Camp 

The Camp and Conference:

The camp will start 6 July. The conference on the Global Consequences of Heavy Industry takes place at the camp 7-8 July. Academics, activists and other people affected by the aluminium industry, dams and environmental destruction will come together to discuss their experiences and think about how to build up stronger local and global resistance.

Immediately following from this the protest camp will be set up. It will be a space in which creative and direct opposition to heavy industry can be mounted. There will be workshops, discussions and concerts (by emerging Icelandic groups as well as world famous bands) during this period. There will be a strong focus around direct action, as in previous camps. For example, at the past two camps there were a number of actions whereby protestors got into dam and smelter construction sites, sometimes chaining themselves to machinery, sometimes not. People of all experiences of this kind of protest are extreemely welcome. Read More

Jan 01 2007

Saving Iceland New Year Stunt in London


Millenium bridge Millennium Bridge

 

On New Years Day, campaigners from Saving Iceland climbed St.Pauls Cathedral and the Tate Modern in London as part of our campaign to challenge the destruction of the Icelandic hihghlands, Europe’s last remaining great wildernesses, and the destruction of communities in Trinidad, both at the hands of the aluminium industry and in particular ALCOA, ALCAN and Century Aluminum.
Read More

Mar 13 2006

Economics Professor Doubts Icelandic Economy Can Handle new smelter


3 March 2006
Iceland Review

Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, continues to report on public reaction to the announcement earlier this week of a memorandum of understanding between Alcoa and the Icelandic government concerning a feasibility study for a new aluminum smelter near Húsavík.

RÚV quotes professor of economics and director of the Economics Institute at the University of Iceland, Tryggvi Thór Herbertsson, saying that the Icelandic economy is unable to handle all the projects currently being planned.

In addition to Alcoa’s proposed new smelter, Alcan and Century Aluminum are also reported to be interested in adding capacity to their existing operations in Iceland.

Other proposed state-sponsored projects include a new hospital in Reykjavík and a new road from Reykjavík to Kjalarnes, the so-called Sundabraut.

According to RÚV, Tryggvi Thór said that “nobody thinks we can carry all of [the proposed projects] out at the same time…that would be far too much.”

Jón Bjarki Bentsson at Íslandsbanki’s research department said to RÚV that if the smelters are built other export industries would run into trouble. He also said that the Icelandic economy was flexible and had adjusted well in the past, both to downturns and upswings. If the projects were to move ahead, Icelanders could expect high interest rates and a high exchange rate, said Jón Bjarki.

Mar 03 2006
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Thjórsárver Wetlands – Is ‘The Heart of Iceland’ Really Safe from the Nature Killers?


thjorsarver3

UPDATE
March 2007

Tjórsárver are certainly not safe yet. Since the below was written the Conservatives have taken over the majority in Reykjavík City Council. They hurriedly sold the council’s 45% share in Landsvirkjun to the State. Since that Landsvirkjun have announced that they want to go ahead with destroying Thjórsárver. However, they first want to make three dams in the lower part of the river of Thjórsá. This is also opposed by many people, including locals. Work on the three dams is due to start in the autumn of 2007. They are to provide energy for the enlarged ALCAN factory at Straumsvík in Hafnarfjörður. The people of Hafnarfjörður will vote in a referendum on this enlargement 31 March. It seems the inhabitants of Hafnarfjördur hold the fate of Thjórsá, Langisjór and Thjórsárver in their hands. If they vote in favour of ALCAN the rest of the Icelandic nation and the international community will have to step in.

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