Jul 15 2008

Reykjavik Energy Linked to Torture

This week Frettabladid and Iceland Review reported that Saving Iceland rejected an offer from Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (Reykjavik Energy) to receive a grant. Vice-chairman of OR, Ásta Thorleifsdóttir, told Fréttabladid that she admires the vision of the Saving Iceland organization.

“We applaud that OR has started listening to criticism, and that this has lead to the cancellation of plans to buid the Bitruvirkjun plant in Hengill. However, Hellisheidi is still being expanded for aluminium and this is not something we support at all. OR is a company that is still directly involved in heavy industry expansion, so we can not accept any donations from them,” says Saving Iceland’s Jaap Krater.

“OR is also still involved in dubious enterprises through Reykajvik Energy Invest. They have just signed a drilling contract in Jemen (1), a country with a nasty Shari’a regime, where there is no free press and security services are routinely involved in torture and even extrajudicial executions (2,3). This is not something we condone. RE should not make deals with anyone involved in serious human rights violations, whether it’s a fundamentalist state or heavy industry corporations.” states Krater.


The environmental impact asessment for Hellisheidarvrikjun says explicitly that the only purpose is to supply energy for the Century expansion at Grundartangi and possible new ALCAN and Century plants at Straumsvik and Helguvik (4, 5). At the same time, farmers pay twice as much for electricity as these corporations (6).

Last summer, Saving Iceland published reports documenting the long lists of human rights violations of these companies and blockaded of the Century and Alcan smelters in Iceland actions (7, 8).

Saving Iceland spokespeople Miriam Rose and Jaap Krater have also documented the effects of the geothermal power in Hengill in the Ecologist journal (9):

“The boiling water which comes out of geothermal boreholes is extremely useful while it spins turbines and heats buildings. After that, however, it becomes a waste product. Laced with various and sometimes toxic compounds from deep within the bedrock, the water is either pumped back into the borehole – which can lead to geological instability – or is pumped untreated into streams and lakes (10, 11). This particular technique has already created a huge dead zone in lake Thingvallavatn, leading to a decline in numbers of falcons, greylag geese, harlequin ducks and ravens (5,12).”

Clean aluminium?

Saving Iceland will this year specifically focus on human impact of aluminium and bauxite mining.
On Wednesday July 23, 19.30 h. Saving Iceland will hold a conference with the Indian writer, scientist and aluminium expert Samarendra Das and ‘Dreamland’ author Andri Snær Magnusson, on the influence of the aluminium industry in the third world. Also, the concept of aluminium as a ‘green’ product will be examined. The evening is organised jointly with Futureland. It will take place at the Reykjavikurakademian house on Hringbraut 121. (Click here for more information).
Last year, Das unfortunately had to cancel for the Saving Iceland conference ‘Consequences of heavy industry’ in Olfus, where Magnusson spoke as well as guests from Trinidad, South Africa, Brazil and various other countries. Saving Iceland is happy to finally have the opportunity to welcome Samarendra to Iceland.


  • Jaap Krater (867 1493)
  • Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson (857 3521)
  • Miriam Rose (869 3782, 6150713)