'Langisjór' Tag Archive

Jul 31 2011

Lake Langisjór Finally Declared Protected

After many years of planning to change lake Langisjór, located at the western edge of Vatnajökull, into a reservoir for energy production, Landsvirkjun’s fantasies have finally been permanently ceased. Last Friday, July 29th, Iceland’s Ministry of Environment announced the publication of a regulation to validate the enlargement of Vatnajökull national park, which includes the protection of Langisjór and partly the volcanic canyon Eldgjá and its surroundings. The regulation is the final step in an agreement, signed in February this year, between the Ministry of Environment and local authority of Skaftá district concerning the enlaregment of the national park, based on the priceless value of the area’s natural features. This manifests the full realization of one of Iceland’s environmental movement’s biggest victories.

Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national energy company, intended to channel river Skaftá to river Tungnaá river through Langisjór, which would effectively become a reservoir. The Skaftá dam (Skaftárveita) would have added another 7 km2 to the lake-reservoir with the purpose of increasing the energy capacity of planned dams in rivers Þjórsá and Tungnaá. The three planned dams in Þjórsá have been met with fierce local and national opposition whereas the construction of Búðarháls dam in Tungná is already taking place, its energy meant for increased aluminium production in Rio Tinto’s Alcan smelter in Straumsvík. Effectively, the damming of Langisjór would lead to a sediment build-up and increased turbidity which would destroy the lake ecosystem. Read More

Jun 24 2011

Environmentalists Excluded from Master Plan on the Future of Nature Conservation

At the beginning of July the results of a framework programme, concerning the exploitation and protection of Iceland’s natural resources, will be presented publicly. The timing of the presentation has much more to do with demands from the labour market agents, rather than the government’s will to try to reach a settlement about the result, according to the Icelandic Nature Conservation Association (INCA, or NSÍ in Icelandic), which is highly critical of many aspects of the making of the framework programme.

One of the association’s primary criticisms is directed towards the fact that a particular committee, nominated to sort the areas in question into three different categories: protection, hold and utilization – did not include a single representative from environmentalist organizations. Whereas representatives from the energy and tourism industries, as well as the ministries of environment and industry, had seats on the committee. The viewpoint of nature conservation has thus no spokesperson in the working progress, states a press release from INCA. Read More

Mar 17 2011

Loan for Búðarháls Dam Dependent on IceSave Outcome

Yesterday, national energy company Landsvirkjun received the first loan for its planned Búðarháls dam in Tungnaá River (south Iceland, north-east of Þjórsá river). The 8,6 billion ISK loan comes from the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and is dependent on the outcome of the referendum about the so-called IceSave bill, which will take place on April 9th. The energy is meant for Rio Tinto- Alcan’s increased aluminium production. Read More

Mar 30 2007

Countdown to the Hafnarfjordur Referendum…

Iceland’s path as either a wild green masterpiece or a mid-Atlantic industrially polluted backwater is to reach a significant junction tomorow, Saturday the 31st of March. Residents of Hafnarfjordur, SW of Reykjavik, will vote on whether they want their Alcan (Canadian Aluminium) smelter expanded into by far the biggest aluminium smelter seen in Iceland to date.

The smelter, which lies in the vicinity of Hafnarfjordur, in Straumsvik, currently has a capacity of being able to produce 180,000 metric tonnes of aluminium per year (mtpy.) Alcan wishes to turn this into an unbelievably massive 460,000 mtpy smelter.

Iceland’s current largest smelter asside from this, being built in Reydarfjordur, can produce a gigantic 322,000 mtpy of aluminium and is to be powered by damming the Central-Eastern of Icelands: the infamous Karahnjukar project.

If the smelter in Hafnarfjordur is to be enlarged then we will be facing the destruction of Iceland’s Central Southern Highlands – Langisjor, Kerlingarfjoll, Thjorsarver, the nether region of Thjorsa not to mention the geothermal fields in Reykjanes and so much more.

To anyone who has the opportunity to vote in this referendum, please vote to keep Iceland a wild and green masterpiece.

Jan 24 2006

Stop the Dams Concert a Massive Success

The Stop the Dams mega concert, featuring a once in a lifetime collection of artists, was a huge success. At the concert the dates to the next protest camp at the Kárahnjúkar project were announced, 21st July. Hundreds if not thousands of Icelanders are expected to attend. The destruction will be stopped!

Almost 6,000 people partied in protest against the devastation of Iceland’s wildernesses on January the 7th.

The lineup included KK, Björk and Zeena, Múm, Sigur Rós, Magga Stína, Rass and Dr. Spock, Damien Rice, Mugison, Lisa Hannigan, Hjálmar, Ghostigital, Damon Albarn (from Blur), Ham, and Egó. Performance artists and film-makers were also among the nearly two hundred artists that contributed to the event.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian (13 Feb ’06), Björk had this to say about politics and the dam: Read More

Oct 25 2005

Fight Against ALCAN Taken to Scotland

25 October 2005

Five people locked together using lock-on tubes blocking the only access road and denying entry to vehicles supplying equipment essential in the infrastructure and operation of the ALCAN smelter at Fort William, Scotland. The blockade started at the beginning of the morning shift change and lasted for almost five hours.


ALCAN scotland 

Read More

Sep 23 2005
1 Comment

Direct Actions at Anode Conference and Elsewhere

ALCOA to hell

This time around Reykjavík was host to an International Conference on Anode Rodding Plants for Primary Aluminium Smelters. At the conference, which was largely funded by Icelandic tax payers’ money, Iceland was yet again being offered up for sale as a cheap country for aluminium smelting, while undesirable points of view were unwelcome.



So Saving Iceland decided to invite themselves

On the morning of 21 September delegates woke up to a noisy bunch of protestors standing outside the Hotel Nordica blowing whistles and horns and banging away on pots and drums, just to remind the delegates and their hosts that there is active and unfailing resistance to the systematic destruction of Icelandic nature and the increase in pollution of our environment.

Same day in the late afternoon the representatives of the most polluting industry in the world were treated with champagne and canapés at the Reykjavík Municipality. At the same time an International Transport week was being celebrated in Reykjavík; its stated purpose was “to raise awareness among the public on the necessity of reducing pollution caused by traffic”. Greenhouse gas emissions from the ALCOA smelter in Reyðarfjörður will be equal to that of 172.000 cars; the entire car-fleet of Iceland!

Together with NatureWatch and youngsters of Ungrót, Saving Iceland organized another noise protest outside the Municipality as the mayor welcomed delegates of the conference. A heavy police presence was deemed necessary to protect the polluting fat cats while they sipped champagne and listened to fawning speeches of Icelandic dignitaries. For two hours environmentalists put on street performances and vigorously banged on their drums. A large window on the side of the building gave the delegates a good view of the crowd and their banners.

priceof aluminium

The protestors were content with their ample supplies of green skyr (Icelandic dairy product very useful for splashing on poisoners of the earth!) and in the spirit of sharing offered the delegates to have some on their way out from the mayor’s visit. This generosity caused unexplained tremors amongst the cops and delegates alike. Perhaps bad memories from last June had something to do with it…


A 14 year old protestor was arrested for
mooning at the aluminium sophisticates!

23 September

Delegates of the conference visited the aluminium smelters at Straumsvík and Grundartangi. Saving Iceland went to the ALCAN factory to warn them what aluminium smelting can do to their health.


To indicate solidarity with the people who have suffered from ALCAN’s immoral and inhuman working practices around the world the protestors sang The Alcan Song:

“It’s ALCAN the Aluminium Man
The Aluminium Man with the Aluminium Plan
For making lots of aluminium
Out of other peoples land!

Will this Man of Aluminium
Realize what he’s done,
Once he’s done what he is about to start?
He’s got aluminium, but he’s got no heart!”

Meanwhile ALCAN’s flag was stamped on, torn and finally burnt.


Yes, there was some dancing too

Two people were illegally arrested for throwing a harmless and perfectly legal smoke-bomb into an open field. One of them was arrested for driving a “stolen” car from the protest, even if the owner of the car gave immediate proof thathe had his permission to drive the car! Both were held for five hours and released without charge.


Below is a statement from the protestors:

“Today delegates of the 3rd International Conference on Anode Rodding Plants for Primary Aluminium Smelters in Reykjavík are due to visit the aluminium smelters at Straumsvík and Grundartangi. Little attention has been paid by the conference to the negative impact and harmful effects to people’s health of aluminium smelting and related types of processing.

At this conference, which is partly funded by Icelandic tax payers’ money, the Technological Institute of Iceland, City of Reykjavík, the Ministry of Industry, Icelandair and the National Power Company, Landsvirkjun are among the sponsors and participants, Iceland is yet again being offered up for sale as a cheap country to smelt aluminium, while undesirable points of view are unwelcome.

We wish to convey the message to the conference guests that there is active opposition in this country to the further build-up of heavy industry, and point out the impact that this build-up will have on the local people and on the environment of those of us who live on Faxaflói bay.

Our protest is designed to express our opposition to the proposed expansion of the aluminium smelters at Straumsvík (ALCAN) and Grundartangi (Century), as well as the construction of an anode factory at Katanes (R&D Ltd.) and yet another Century smelter at Helguvik. We find it wholly unacceptable that the Faxaflói bay should become the most highly polluted area in Northern Europe, yet this is what will happen if these plans go ahead.

The additional sacrifices of Iceland’s most precious natural jewels, the Ramsar protected wetlands of Thjorsarver and one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes, Langisjor, to facilitate the expansions of the ALCAN and Century smelters are completely unacceptable.

Cost of resistance

We also wish to show our solidarity with the people who have suffered from ALCAN’s immoral and inhuman working practices around the world; from the workers at Straumsvík who have contacted us to describe their unacceptable working conditions and the abuse of employees’ rights, to the inhabitants of the Kashipur district of India who have been fighting for twelve years against a planned bauxite mine and ALCAN aluminium plant which will force at least 20,000 people to leave their farm lands and will pollute their water supply (see www.saanet.org), not forgetting the residents of Hafnarfjördur in Iceland who are demanding a local referendum on the expansion of the ALCAN plant.

We urge the press to better inform themselves about the environmental impact of the planned build-up of heavy industry around Faxaflói bay, and equally about the record and working practices of the foreign companies that the Icelandic government continues to eulogize and acclaim as the saviors of Iceland.”

(Needless to say, there are no signs of the Icelandic media picking up the challenge and doing their home work for a change. Icelandic media is under the tight control of the triple headed hydra; The State, the nouveau riche and the bitter old rich. Investigative journalism in the aluminium republic belongs to the past.)

Aug 29 2005

Iceland: Dam Nation by Merrick


With the growing awareness of climate change, carbon emission restrictions may not be too far off. Because countries that pollute the most may well get the heaviest restrictions, rather than seeking to reduce their emissions many industrial corporations are looking to move operations abroad.
Iceland, despite modern European levels of education, welfare and wealth, has almost no heavy industry. Their carbon rations will be up for grabs. Seeing the extra pollution coming, in 2001 Iceland got a 10% increase on the CO2 limits imposed by the Kyoto treaty. The problem is that the lack of heavy industry means a lack of the major power supply needed for such things. But Iceland has glacial rivers in vast areas unpopulated by humans; land for hydroelectric dams that can be seen as carbon-neutral. Read More

Aug 17 2005

We who have been protesting…

Saving Iceland

We who have been protesting against heavy industry and the devastating destruction of Iceland’s natural environment at Kárahnjúkar in the Eastern highlands of Iceland and in other parts of the country in recent months would like to take the opportunity to make the following statement:

During our protests we have used methods which may not have a long tradition in Iceland but which do not constitute a breach of the law. We are a broad-based group of Icelanders and people of many other nationalities united by our respect for the natural environment and our intolerance of repression, the misuse of power and the violation of human rights. Read More

Aug 12 2005

The Protesters Have Relocated to Reykjavík

We have relocated to Reykjavik and the camp in the East of Iceland has been dissolved. We have accomplished what we set out to do in the East and are extending our campaign to the capital in spite of heavy state repression, police surveillance and harassment.



Many events are scheduled; the upcoming events are as follows: Read More