Feb 01 2007

Alcoa joins Hydro in Greenland smelter talks


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, savingiceland@riseup.net

Greenland aluminium investments, taken from Norden.org 01/02/07

Total investment of approximately DKK 15 billion may be on their way to Greenland, Børsen reports. The Greenland government signed an exploratory agreement with Hydro a few weeks ago and a similar non-binding agreement has been reached with Alcoa.

In a few years time, either the Norwegian energy giant Hydro or the American aluminium producer Alcoa may be building hydro-electricity plants a couple of hundred kilometres south of Søndre Strømfjord, not to mention an associated aluminium plant with a capacity of minimum 300,000 tons out on the coast.

Preliminary studies on utilizing hydropower taken from Greenland Home Rule;s website, undated

The agreement is a Joint Action Plan enabling both parties to study the possibility of placing an aluminium smelter in Greenland. The smelter makes aluminium out of alumina by electrolysis. This process demands large amounts of energy. Currently, the world experiences rising energy prices, making Greenland an interesting potential to look into.

Over a period a number of studies will be made in order to show whether it is possible to continue to start working on actual plans for a smelter with the necessary hydropower plants.

If the studies show that this is feasible the Greenland Home Rule and Alcoa can start talks on a specific project.

The Greenland Home Rule and Alcoa both agree that the environment and labour are very important issues in this agreement.

At the same time the agreement does not legally tie the Greenland Home Rule, retaining control of Greenlandic resources.

The Minister says “This can in time have en enormous positive impact on our society. We have in the talks with the company [Alcoa] emphasized involvement of the Greenlandic society and focused on environment, nature and the possibilities for Greenland¿s commercial actors and education”.

In the long run the project can potentially employ several hundred people. It is at this point important to emphasize that an agreement on building a smelter does not exist at this point, and at the best it will take at least 5-10 years before such a project is defined, agreed and construction has ended.