Mar 01 2006

Alcoa Add Fuel to the Fire and Announce Plans for a New Aluminium Smelter in Northern Iceland

“Jubilation” in ALCOA’s Reykjavik offices on the day of the announcement

Alcoa announced today that they would possibly want to build a $1-billion aluminum smelter in North Iceland. The proposed site is about 2 kilometers outside the town of Húsavík. An area famed for strong earthquakes. (See ‘A letter to ALCOA…‘)

The decision comes after an examination of three potential locations in Iceland, including sites near Skagafjördur and Akureyri. The Husavík location was chosen in part because of the area’s potential to use geothermal activity to supply energy for the smelter, according to Alcoa representative Jake Siewert. This is clearly a greenwashing opportunity ALCOA just can’t miss.

“We don’t think there’s another aluminum plant in the world that’s powered exclusively by geothermal,” says Siewert. “And that would make this really a first of its kind.”

He added that ALCOA felt very “welcome” in Iceland and that in spite of the fact that the majority of the nation do not want to see more heavy industry in their country and half the nation think that the Karahnjukar dams are a terrible mistake.

If approved, ground would be broken outside Husavík around 2010. The smelter would generate 250,000 metric tons per year, smaller than Alcoa’s 340,000 metric ton smelter being built today in east Iceland.

The disregard for environmental considerations and low cost of energy (the price is kept secret) offered by the Icelandic government make the country very attractive for global corporations such as Alcoa, Alcan, Century and R&D Carbon to set up mega-projects.

Last week, Alcoa also entered into an agreement with the government of Trinidad and Tobago to build a $1.5-billion aluminum smelter. See ‘Alcoa facing growing protests over proposed Trinidad Smelter’ in News.

Perhaps this feeling of being so “welcome” in Iceland had something to do with the decision of the ALCOA directors not to come to Iceland this time around to make their announcement. Just in case many Icelandic people would take to the streets yet again to protest against ALCOA’s pressence and tell them to to go to hell.