Jan 11 2008

Alcoa Divides and Rules Greenland

11 January 2008

Saving Iceland received this urgent call for help from Greenland. The sentiments here seem quite contrary to those of Alcoa’s deluded CEO, Alain Belda, who intends to bring an “environmentally-friendly smelter [to Greenland] that adheres to our stringent values and delivers sustainable development”* or Alcoa’s Mr Wade “Kárahnjúkar-is-not-in-the-Highlands” Hughes who stated that Alcoa “have been well accepted by the people [in Greenland].”** In Iceland we are well aware of the collusion between mega-corporations like Alcoa and the corporate media, in manufacturing consent for their projects rather than stimulating thoughtful debate. As Alcoa plan a smelter in Greenland which will start off slightly larger than their Fjardaál monster in Iceland, there is no time to lose, Greenland must be defended.
The Aluminium project in Greenland involves a smelter to be placed most possibly in Maalutu on the western shore of Nuuk Fiord plus 3 hydropower projects one in the bottom of Nuuk fiord, one in the bottom of Majoqqaq in the bottom of S�ndre Isortoq and one in the river running from Tasersiaq most possible by damming Sarfartup Kuua, producing ~600 MW. Plus >100km of wires crossing some of the most precious caribou hunting grounds. The aim is to produce ~350.000 tonnes of Aluminium per year and create ~700 permanent jobs.

Three municipalities (Sisimiut, Maniitsoq and Nuuk) put a lot of energy in competing with each other, on which of them is to host the site of the smelter, and still the public has no clue on what to expect.

The publicity about the project is mainly through national TV and radio, the company’s Greenlandic website www.aluminium.gl (run by the Greenlandic company Greenland Development) plus two public meetings, one in august 2007 and one last Tuesday. One of the speakers refered to a survey on the public opinion done by HS analyse states that most people are in favour of the project see the Danish report here. please note though that most of the public get their information from the national TV and radio.

The whole decision process is speeded up, Avataq (Greenland’s environmental organisation) only had one month to read and comment a Strategic Environmental Assessment (Strategisk Milj�vurdering) and that was during Christmas! The Greenlandic parliament will adopt the SEA this spring, and the final decision will be in autumn 2009.

Dear friends. There’s lots of work to do – and very little time!


** See Alcoa’s Wade Hughes’ interview with a Saving Iceland activist at Alcoa’s headquarters in New York here

More details on the plans for a Greenland ALCOA smelter and associated dams – ‘Possible Locations For Aluminium Smelter In Greenland’