Alcoa and the Icelandic government announced a location today to possibly build a $1-billion aluminum smelter in North Iceland. The proposed site is about 2 kilometers outside the town of Húsavík. The project would be Alcoa’s second aluminum smelter in Iceland.
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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.
“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.”
The smelter currently under construction in east Iceland will be powered by a hydro-electric dam built for this purpose.
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 low cost of energy in Iceland’s emerging market economy make it attractive nation for global industrial companies like Alcoa and Alcan to set up largescale projects.
Last week, Alcoa also entered into an agreement with the government Trinidad and Tobago to build a $1.5-billion aluminum smelter. An environmental impact report of that project proposal is currently underway.
— Krista Mahr