'Economics' Tag Archive

Apr 23 2007

Reuters: Aluminium smelters generate hot debate in Iceland

By Sarah Edmonds
Mon Apr 23, 2007

REYDARFJORDAR, Iceland (Reuters) – Iceland’s biggest and newest aluminium smelter, Alcoa Fjardaal, pumped out its first hot metal at the weekend, riling critics who fear it will damage the environment.

The balance between environmental and economic tradeoffs for Iceland’s three existing and three planned smelters have become a major issue in the lead-up to May 12 elections.

On one side are those who fear unchecked industrial growth will harm the land and economy.

On the other are those who say Iceland must bring in such projects to make use of its abundant but unexportable power-generating resources, such as its geothermal and hydroelectric potential.

The issue has given rise to a new green party, the Iceland Movement, whose platform has a single plank: big industry development must stop for five years until the effects of projects like Alcoa’s Fjardaal are clear.

Author Andri Snaer Magnason said the construction of smelters like Alcoa’s, and the geothermal and hydroelectric plants that power them, has created a “heroin economy.” Read More

Apr 20 2007

Will Your Party Support the Continued Build-up of Heavy-Industry in Iceland?

In the build up to the 2007 parliamentary elections, The Reykjavík Grapevine asked representitives from each of the political parties to answer questions regarding the most pressing issue; Heavy Industry.

Issue 4, 13 April, 2007
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Apr 07 2007
1 Comment

Volcano Park to Open in Iceland?


Iceland Review

Geologists suggested on March 24 that a volcano park should be established on Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland, which has the potential to become a major tourist attraction.

According to geologist Ásta Thorleifsdóttir, a volcano park on Reykjanes could be larger and have more variety than a similar volcano park in Hawaii, which attracts 3.3 million tourists every year, making USD billions in profits.

“We have much better access on Reykjanes. […] We have the international airport beside it and all these villages that can offer accommodation, entertainment, information, guidance, scientific knowledge and everything else that comes with it,” Thorleifsdóttir told RÚV.

Thorleifsdóttir has researched the volcano park in Hawaii, which is the largest of its kind and is considered the most noteworthy volcano park in the world.

Thorleifsdóttir said the geology of Reykjanes peninsula is unique. There is a lot of volcanic activity with numerous shield volcanoes, volcanic fissures, craters and hot springs.

“There are few places on earth like it. Only us who live close by don’t realize that if we want to show foreign tourists something unique we don’t have to go further than to Kleifarvatn and Krýsuvík,” Thorleifsdóttir said.


Mar 21 2007
1 Comment

Environmentalists in Uproar as Iceland Pays the Price for ‘Green’ Energy Push

The Independent
21 March 2007
Richard Hollingham

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Mar 20 2007

Future Land Offers ‘Gray or Green’ Pact

Saving Iceland
20 March 2007

Campaign group Framtídarlandid (‘Future Land’) have pulled off a herculean stunt by finally managing to rally the Icelandic bourgeoisie to the defence of Icelandic nature.

Representatives of the group presented the pact ‘Gray or Green’ at a press conference last Sunday and asked Icelanders to sign it to put a stop to further heavy industry projects.

The pact, which can be read and signed on Future Land’s website, encourages the government to:

“Secure a varied and vibrant society in Iceland, where ingenuity and creativity of individuals is celebrated for the benefit of themselves and others.

To respect future generations by creating law to protect nature before further projects to harness energy for industry are undertaken.

To take responsibility in times of climate change by following international agreements on the reduction of CO2 emissions.”

The pact says Iceland should make decisions which coincide with its identity and image rather than become the biggest aluminium manufacturers in the world.

If the smelters in Straumsvík and Hvalfjördur are enlarged, new smelters in Helguvík and Húsavík constructed and aluminium production in Reydarfjördur is begun, energy comparable to three Kárahnjúkar power plants will be required, the pact states.

Finally all Icelandic MP’s are invited to make a clear statment in favour of environmental protection by commiting themselves to the pact.

Andri Snaer Magnason
and actress María Ellingsen presented the pact yesterday.

The press conference was also attended by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the former president of Iceland, who is the pact’s official patron.

Supporters of the ‘Gray or Green’ pact include such prominent luminaries as Bishop Sigurbjörn Einarsson, writer and vice-director of Time Warner Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson, former Prime Minister Steingrímur Hermansson, professor in philosophy Vilhjálmur Árnason and film producer Sigurjón Sighvatsson.

Saving Iceland welcomes this initiative because, as they say; better late than never.

Mar 17 2007

Alcoa and Brazil’s latest dam project – They’re doing it again!

Brazilian environmental activists are charging that Brazilian environmental authorities and an Alcoa lead consortium planning construction of Barra Grande dam conspired to commit fraud in the awarding of an environmental license for the project. Members of Brazil’s Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB) and environmentalists blockaded the access road to a stand of virgin forest slated for clearing before the filling of the reservoir. In all, 6,000 hectares of primary forests, including araucaria pines, in one of the richest remaining expanses of the threatened Atlantic Coast rainforest, would be flooded by the dam on the Pelotas river in Southern Brazil. A 2,000 hectare stand of virgin araucaria forests was somehow “omitted” in the project’s environmental studies. Local groups have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to annul the license awarded to Barra Grande, to require the consortium to carry out new studies evaluating the possibility of operating the reservoir at a lower level to avoid drowning the araucaria forests, and if this is deemed impossible, to order the demolition of the dam structure. Heavily-armed riot police have reportedly been sent to the area to disperse protestors. The consortium building Barra Grande includes the Pittsburgh-based Alcoa aluminum company (which contains Kathy Fuller, President of WWF-USA as a Board Member), MAB leader Soli da Silva says the mobilization will continue indefinitely. “We cannot permit that fraud and a ‘done deal’ become the rule on environmental licensing for hydroelectric projects in our country.” Please support these brave environmentalists at http://forests.org/action/brazil/ .
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Mar 15 2007

Aerial Photos Reveal Massive Cracks in Brazilian Dam – Campos Novos Dam Builders Downplay Danger

Campos Novos 1

Click to enlarge

The design of the Campos Novos Dam is of exactly the same type as the Kárahnjúkar dams. The difference between the two dams is that Campos Novos is built on stable ground whereas the Kárahnjúkar dams are built on top of a cluster of active volcanic fissures. Geological reports warning of this were suppressed by the Icelandic government at the time when the Parliament voted on the Kárahnjúkar dams.

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Feb 19 2007

Mad as Hell – Interview with Andri Snær Magnason

Iceland Review

andri snaer 

Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason was recently awarded for his book Draumalandid (“Dreamland”), which harshly criticizes the government’s policy on heavy industry. Read IR’s Ed Weinman’s interview with Magnason on why he is so angry about this policy and why he decided to write a book about it. Read More

Feb 04 2007

Smokestacks in a White Wilderness Divide Iceland – New York Times

NY Times puts the spotlight on Kárahnjúkar
Alcoa is building an aluminum smelter in eastern Iceland, part of a project that is reshaping the wilderness. But a coalition of groups says Iceland is sacrificing its most precious asset — its pristine land — to foreign industry.


The New York Times


NORTH OF VATNAJOKULL GLACIER, Iceland — In the depths of winter there is almost nothing to see here but snow and rock: snow across the uneven, unearthly landscape, snow on the mist-shrouded mountains, snow stretching to what looks like the edge of the world.

But tucked into Iceland’s central highlands, where the Karahnjukar mountain meets two powerful rivers flowing north from Europe’s largest glacier, a nearly completed jigsaw of dams, tunnels and reservoirs has begun to reshape the wilderness.

This is the $3 billion Karahnjukar Hydropower Project, a sprawling enterprise to harness the rivers for electricity that will be used for a single purpose: to fuel a new aluminum smelter owned by Alcoa, the world’s largest aluminum company. It has been the focus of the angriest and most divisive battle in recent Icelandic history. Read More

Nov 09 2006
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‘Blood and bauxite’ by Chandra Siddan

Montreal Mirror
Nov 20-26.2003
Vol. 19 No. 23

kashipur dance 


Impoverished Indians fight ALCAN’s bid to open a mine in their backyard. Since this article was written the repression has been stepped up.
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