'Rio Tinto Alcan' Tag Archive

Mar 08 2007

Pro-ALCAN group ‘Hagur Hafnarfjarðar’ accused of fear propaganda

27 February 2007
by Steinunn Jakobsdóttir

Sól í Straumi, an interest group in Hafnarfjörður opposing the plans to enlarge the Straumsvík aluminium plant, harshly criticize the organisation Hagur Hafnarfjarðar, a group of people and companies that have vested interests in the smelter, for being biased and using fear propaganda to influence the people of Hafnarfjörður to vote in favour of the enlargement.

The smelter (it’s the one you pass when driving to or from the Keflavík Airport) is owned by the industrial giant Alcan Iceland Ltd., which is now planning to increase the smelter’s annual capacity from 170.000 tons to 460.000 tons. The inhabitants of Hafnarfjörður will get the chance to vote on the subject on March 31st.

The newly established organisation Hagur Hafnarfjarðar has one main goal, to support a bigger smelter so as to maintain a flourishing economy in Hafnarfjörður, as they put it. In reaching that goal, their spokesmen have been encouraging Hafnarfjörður inhabitants to vote in favour of the enlargement, arguing that if they reject these plans the smelter will close down in the near future. That will have dramatic affects on the smelter’s employees as well as all the companies doing business with Alcan, which are, according to Hagur Hafnarfjarðar, approximately 1.500 people and more than one hundred companies.

Sól í Straumi, refuse these predictions altogether. In a statement issued yesterday they accuse Hagur Hafnarfjarðar of using misleading information and fear propaganda to influence the townspeople. According to the statement, Sól í Straumi challenge Hagur Hafnarfjarðar to be more responsible in the debate and stop trying to persuade Hafnarfjörður inhabitants by arguing that their jobs are in danger. They also reject the statement made by Hagur Hafnarfjarðar that 5-7% of the municipality’s income can be traced to the smelter. The number is closer to 1-2% of the town’s total income, they argue.

Feb 24 2007

Majority of Icelanders are Against the Expansion of the ALCAN Smelter and Favour More Environmental Protection

According to a survey made by the newspaper Frettabladid over 63% of Icelanders are against the expansion of the ALCAN smelter in Hafnarfjördur. Under 36% support the expansion. The people of Hafnarfjördur will vote on the expansion in a referendum 31 March. ALCAN have gone into overdrive campaigning with threats, bribes and lies. The outcome may very well be indicative of how the nation will vote in the coming general election on 12 May. If the people of Hafnarfjördur vote against ALCAN it will likely be the first death blow to the heavy industry policy of the Icelandic power mafia.

According to a new Gallup Capacent poll, conducted for the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA), 72.8% of Icelanders believe that political parties should place more focus on environmental protection.

When asked if political parties should give more attention to environmental protection, 37,2% answered that the parties should give a lot more attention to environmental protection, while 35,6% answered that the parties should give more attention to the topic.

22,6% Answered that they believed that environmental protection was receiving adequate attention, while 4,6% believed that environmental protection was receiving too much attention.

There was a noticeable difference in opinion between the sexes, with around 78% of women in favour of more environmental protection, with 67% of men answering the same way. Of 1350 people polled, 800 answered.

Feb 21 2007

Press Release Regarding the RUV News About the ELF Action in Hafnarfjördur

Saving Iceland has been alerted to a report broadcast today 21 February by RUV, the Icelandic National Broadcast Service. The report is about an act of sabotage in Hafnarfjordur claimed by the Earth Liberation Front.

We understand that the report has already been transmitted in various versions on RUV radio. In the 8 o’clock news it is stated directly that the ELF are responsible for the website www.savingiceland.org. Quoting RUV: “… The group [ELF] maintain a website devoted to the struggle against heavy industry in Iceland.”

Anyone who has done the slightest amount of research would find that the ELF maintain their own website www.earthliberationfront.com. As far as we are aware the ELF are US based and have never before been concerned with environmental issues in Iceland. Clearly RUV did not bother to find out about this until just before the 12.20pm news. But this did not prompt the RUV news department to correct their earlier inaccuracies regarding the Saving Iceland website. Read More

Jan 23 2007

ELF Strikes Against ALCAN in Iceland

Click here for the Saving Iceland Press Release Regarding the RUV News About the ELF Action in Hafnarfjordur

Earth First
January 2007

In the first week of the new year ELF (Earth Liberation Front) struck in Iceland for the first time. The target was the Alcan Aluminium smelter in Hafnarfjordur which is being expanded into pristine lavafields without local democratic consent which was promised in the town council elections.
This factory is part of ongoing heavy industrialisation of the Icelandic wilderness powered by large dams and geothermal power stations all around the country.

Three peices of machinery (2 diggers and a crane truck) were heavily sabotaged and the ELF signature was left on a workshed wall. Read More

Jan 09 2007
1 Comment

Down with ALCAN!

“It’s ALCAN the Aluminium Man
The Aluminium Man with the Aluminium Plan
For making lots of aluminium
Out of other peoples land!

Will this Man of Aluminium
Realize what he’s done,
Once he’s done what he is about to start?
He’s got aluminium, but he’s got no heart!”


UPDATE 2007: Recently Alcan had to give up its participation in the bauxite mine because of protests against its human rights violations and environmental devastation. Alcan has been accused of cultural genocide in Kashipur because mining and dams have already displaced 150,000 mainly tribal people there.

Canadian mining and aluminium giant Alcan (in Iceland Alcan Iceland Ltd. and ISAL) want to get their hands on one of the world’s richest deposits of bauxite – the raw material for aluminium – in the Kashipur region of India. The $1.4 billion monster strip-mine and refinery promises to displace up to 20,000 people, destroy their livelihoods and culture, contaminate food and water sources and obliterate their spiritual sites.

Villagers have been fighting the mine for the past 12 years but in November 2004 politicians decided that the Alcan mining project was to be launched at any cost – since then repression has been seriously stepped up. People have been murdered by the police and recently it surfaced that the ALCOA sharks have smelt the blood and are now showing interest in joining in… Read More

Jan 06 2007

2007 Saving Iceland Protest Camp and International Conference

A summer of International dissent and action against Heavy Industry – swarming around Iceland from the 6th of July 2007

2007 Protest Camp 

The Camp and Conference:

The camp will start 6 July. The conference on the Global Consequences of Heavy Industry takes place at the camp 7-8 July. Academics, activists and other people affected by the aluminium industry, dams and environmental destruction will come together to discuss their experiences and think about how to build up stronger local and global resistance.

Immediately following from this the protest camp will be set up. It will be a space in which creative and direct opposition to heavy industry can be mounted. There will be workshops, discussions and concerts (by emerging Icelandic groups as well as world famous bands) during this period. There will be a strong focus around direct action, as in previous camps. For example, at the past two camps there were a number of actions whereby protestors got into dam and smelter construction sites, sometimes chaining themselves to machinery, sometimes not. People of all experiences of this kind of protest are extreemely welcome. Read More

Jan 01 2007

Saving Iceland New Year Stunt in London

Millenium bridge Millennium Bridge


On New Years Day, campaigners from Saving Iceland climbed St.Pauls Cathedral and the Tate Modern in London as part of our campaign to challenge the destruction of the Icelandic hihghlands, Europe’s last remaining great wildernesses, and the destruction of communities in Trinidad, both at the hands of the aluminium industry and in particular ALCOA, ALCAN and Century Aluminum.
Read More

Nov 09 2006
1 Comment

‘Blood and bauxite’ by Chandra Siddan

Montreal Mirror
Nov 20-26.2003
Vol. 19 No. 23

kashipur dance 


Impoverished Indians fight ALCAN’s bid to open a mine in their backyard. Since this article was written the repression has been stepped up.
Read More

Mar 13 2006

Economics Professor Doubts Icelandic Economy Can Handle new smelter

3 March 2006
Iceland Review

Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, continues to report on public reaction to the announcement earlier this week of a memorandum of understanding between Alcoa and the Icelandic government concerning a feasibility study for a new aluminum smelter near Húsavík.

RÚV quotes professor of economics and director of the Economics Institute at the University of Iceland, Tryggvi Thór Herbertsson, saying that the Icelandic economy is unable to handle all the projects currently being planned.

In addition to Alcoa’s proposed new smelter, Alcan and Century Aluminum are also reported to be interested in adding capacity to their existing operations in Iceland.

Other proposed state-sponsored projects include a new hospital in Reykjavík and a new road from Reykjavík to Kjalarnes, the so-called Sundabraut.

According to RÚV, Tryggvi Thór said that “nobody thinks we can carry all of [the proposed projects] out at the same time…that would be far too much.”

Jón Bjarki Bentsson at Íslandsbanki’s research department said to RÚV that if the smelters are built other export industries would run into trouble. He also said that the Icelandic economy was flexible and had adjusted well in the past, both to downturns and upswings. If the projects were to move ahead, Icelanders could expect high interest rates and a high exchange rate, said Jón Bjarki.

Mar 09 2006

Alcan Threatens Icelandic Government

Alcan has announced that it may well pull out of Iceland if it does not get the go-ahead to expand its factory at Straumsvík. The announcement was made after talks between Alcan and the PM Asgrimsson. Alcan would appear to have been pressuring the Icelandic Government into making available electricity to support the expansion program. This would entail the building of more dams and thus continuing the ongoing ecological destruction of the Icelandic wilderness.

This is a clear example of a large corporation attempting to exert economic dominance over a small democracy, a tactic echoed throughout the world where corporations gain ground to unduly influence goverments economic policy.

Saving Iceland rejoices at the idea of ALCAN leaving Iceland for good. They should also have the decency to leave India and the long suffering Adivasi people of Kashipur in peace. See www.kashipur.info

Celebrations have been announced in Reykjavik.