'Norsk Hydro' Tag Archive

Oct 03 2013
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The Age of Aluminium – A Documentary


Aluminium has found its way into every facet of our lives: deodorants, sun lotions, vaccines or filtered drinking water. But what do we actually know about the side effects of our daily consuming of aluminium products? The light metal comes with heavy consequences. Latest research links it to the increase in Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and food allergies. Hand in hand with the large scale environmental destruction and routine cultural genocide, deemed necessary to generate electricity for smelters, come the often disastrous ecological impacts of bauxite mining.

Saving Iceland would like to recommend this recent and informative film by Bert Ehgartner. Below is a short trailer for the film. You can stream or download the whole film, in either English or German here.

See also: Is Aluminium Really a Silent Killer?

Jamaica Bauxite Mining Videos

Dec 29 2009

Greenland’s Energy and Mineral Extraction Master-plan Revealed


As Greenland awakes from over 700 years of colonisation and heavy subsidisation by Denmark, it’s home rule government are promoting the development of huge hydro-power for aluminium smelters, and all the country’s other mineral and energy resources as a desperate measure to sustain their economy. The language of fear and imminent economic collapse used in the Prime Minister’s plan (below) is strongly reminiscent of the pro heavy-industry strategy in Iceland in the run up to the Kárahnjúkar dam, and right up to today.

The article attempts to justify aluminium production and other energy intensive extractive industries, claiming that using Greenland’s ‘green’ hydro energy will prevent ‘dirty’ emissions for the inevitable production of aluminium elsewhere. This is certainly the take of Alcoa who are ever keen to avoid carbon taxes, and claim that:
‘We have before us a wonderful opportunity to deliver mutual benefit to the people of Greenland and to Alcoa as we continue to work toward our common objective of building a world-class, sustainable aluminum smelter, powered by renewable hydroelectric energy in Greenland.’
The experience of Icelandic mega-hydro, as well as numerous studies have revealed this argument to be nothing but ‘greenwash’- a selling point for Alcoa, while carbon emissions, fluoride pollution, indigenous destruction, and weapons manufacture associated with aluminium production continue to rise unabated.
Plans for an aluminium smelter in Greenland have been reported since 2007, originally proposed by Norsk Hydro. Alcoa quickly stepped in and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in May 2007 for a smelter in the town of Nuuk, Sisimiut or Maniitsoq. The proposed smelter will begin at 350,000 tonnes (slightly larger than the enormous Fjardaal in Iceland) and will require 650 MW of energy from 2 dams, connected to the smelter by 240 km of powerlines. Public consultations are currently in progress with the next round in January 2010, with plans to have the smelter online by 2016.
In 2008 a contact in Greenland reported that most people there are in favour of the project, and with the urgent need for financial independence as they break away from Danish rule, this may well be the case. Greenland is geographically and politically isolated and lacks even the level of critique and information which Icelanders had in the run up to Karahnjukar, let alone the support of large NGO’s for the tiny environmental group who are trying to single-handedly address the many issues with the smelters and other developments there. Read More

Jan 30 2009

Norsk Hydro Wants to Build an Aluminum Smelter in Iceland


Þeistareykir ehf. and Landsvirkjun (Iceland’s national energy company) have now started discussions with the Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro about the purchase of geothermal energy from Þingeyjasýsla, north Iceland. The energy was supposed to run Alcoa’s planned aluminium smelter in Bakki, Húsavík.

The memorandum of understanding between Þeistareykir, Landsvirkjun and Alcoa because of the aluminium smelter in Bakki, ran out on November 1st 2008 and was not renewed. One of the reasons was said to be the uncertainty on the Icelandic financial markets. Tómas Már Sigurðsson, Alcoa’s director in Iceland, says that decisions about electricity purchase depends on the market situation and hopes that it will get better in the next 12 months.
Read More

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

Sep 03 2007

Defending the Wild in the Land of Fire and Ice – Saving Iceland Takes Action


Jaap Krater
Earth First Journal
3 August, 2007

Summer of Resistance in Iceland – an overview

This year, Iceland saw its third Summer of direct action against heavy industry and large dams. In a much-disputed master plan, all the glacial rivers and geothermal potential of Europe’s largest wilderness would be harnessed for aluminum production (see EF!J May-June 2006). Activists from around the world have gathered to protect Europe’s largest remaining wilderness and oppose aluminum corporations.
Read More

Sep 02 2007
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‘Aluminium Tyrants’ – The Ecologist


IcelandFTcartoonsml.jpgBy Jaap Krater, Miriam Rose and Mark Anslow, The Ecologist, October 2007.

The gates of a geothermal power station are not where you would expect to find environmental activists. But the morning of 26th July 2007 saw the access road to Hellisheidi power station in Hengill, South-West Iceland, blockaded by a group of protestors from the campaign group ‘Saving Iceland’. After a brief demonstration, nine activists were arrested and several now face legal action.

Geothermal power in Iceland is big business. Just five plants generate 3 TWh a year – more than the annual output from all the UK’s wind turbines combined (Orkustofnun 2005; BERR 2006). Geothermal power also provides at least 85 per cent of Iceland’s homes with heat and hot water. This abundance of cheap, largely CO2-free energy has attracted energy-hungry industries to the country like sharks to a carcass. Of these, by far the most energy intensive is the aluminium industry (Krater 2007; Saving Iceland 2007).
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Aug 17 2007
1 Comment

Double Death – Aluminium’s Links with Genocide


By Felix Padel and Samarendra Das, Economic and Political Weekly, December 2005
Cost of resistance

“The evidence we present goes against the conventional history of aluminium, which tends to portray the industry as central to various countries’ economic power and prosperity, without understanding the financial manipulation and exploitation between and within countries, and the true costs.”

Few people understand aluminium’s true form or see its industry as a whole. Hidden from general awareness are its close link with big dams, complex forms of exploitation in the industry’s financial structure, and a destructive impact on indigenous society that amounts to a form of genocide. At the other end of the production line, aluminium’s highest-price forms consist of complex alloys essential to various ‘aerospace’/’defence’ applications.1 The metal’s high ‘strategic importance’ is due to its status as a key material supplying the arms industry. In these four dimensions ‘ environmental, economic, social and military ‘ it has some very destructive effects on human life.
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Aug 08 2007

Rio Tinto Alcan after 550,000 tonne hydro project in Malaysia


Rio targets being top player in aluminium
By Nigel Wilson

August 08, 2007 06:00am
Article from: The Australian

RIO TINTO aims to be the world’s biggest aluminium producer – with the help of some of the world’s cheapest energy – before the end of the decade.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Oscar Groeneveld said yesterday that the possibility of a new aluminium smelter in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, coupled with closer links with Abu Dhabi once the Rio Tinto/Alcan merger was completed, would create a leading world player in the aluminium business. Read More

Jul 17 2007

Saving Iceland Public Meeting in Thorlakshöfn


Public Meeting in Thorlakshofn

July 15th Saving Iceland held a public meeting with inhabitants of Thorlakshöfn, accompanied by Lerato Maregele from EarthLife South Africa, struggling against ALCAN, and Attilah Springer from Rights Action, Trinidad, struggling against ALCOA. They talked about similarities in the way these companies operate in their respective countries and Iceland. Concern was expressed about pollution, climate, and the way the aluminium industry abandons towns to waste when they will close smelters in a few decades. Thorlakshöfn is named as a new smelter location by Rio Tinto ALCAN, Norsk Hydro, Arctus/Altech and Down Corning. The mayor of Thorlakshöfn has suggested his town as a location for two new smelters.

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Feb 01 2007

Alcoa joins Hydro in Greenland smelter talks


2/1/2007

Greenland rashly joins Iceland as the Final European Frontier for the aluminium industry.

Whilst we reported previously that Norsk Hydro were in talks to build a 300,000 MTPY hydroelectric powered aluminium smelter in Greenland, it actually seems that there is a highly nauseating competition taking place between Hydro and Alcoa to win this smelter contract. Or is Greenland Home Rule reckless enough to build two smelters in one of the planets most fragile ecosystems?

One is led to wonder if it is not the neo-colonial situation shared by the two small and easily manipulated nations that appeals to the powerful aluminium barons, just as in Trinidad and Tobago…

We urgently invite any individuals or groups enraged by this project to contact us,  Read More

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