Chinese Aluminum Giant Looks Towards Iceland Skip to content

Chinese Aluminum Giant Looks Towards Iceland

A number of companies have expressed interest in Icelandic geothermal energy company Theistareykir ehf. Chinese authorities are considering purchasing a 32 percent stake in the company, likely on behalf of Chinalco, the country’s largest aluminum manufacturer.

Harnessing geothermal energy at Nesjavellir in southwest Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Further information has been requested and the Chinese Embassy in Iceland confirmed yesterday that a Chinese delegation had announced plans for its arrival in Húsavík, where Theistareykir ehf. is headquartered, next weekend or early next week, Morgunbladid reports.

Energy company Nordurorka, national power company Landsvirkjun and Húsavík Energy (OH) all hold a 32 percent share in Theistareykir ehf. and Nordurorka is interested in selling its share. OH intends to use its preemption.

Others who have expressed interest in the company include Alcoa Fjardarál, which operates an aluminum smelter in east Iceland, and HS Orka, an Icelandic geothermal energy company, which is now in 43 percent ownership of Canadian Magma Energy.

A declaration of intent between Alcoa, the government of Iceland and Nordurthing municipality on harnessing energy in the geothermal area Theistareykir for an aluminum smelter at Bakki, near Húsavík, expires on October 1.

While the local government of Nordurthing formally decided yesterday to renew the declaration of intent with Alcoa with eight votes against one, it remains uncertain whether other parties involved agree.

However, Alcoa is still looking for ways to harness geothermal energy in Theistareykir.

According to Morgunbladid’s sources, representatives of Icelandic pension funds have been approached on possible participation in funding energy harnessing in Theistareykir. That matter is in the initial stages and pension funds are looking into the proposal.

Government leaders announced yesterday that they are in agreement that the first option on further energy harnessing is a hydropower plant at Búdarháls by the river Thjórsá. Theistareykir and geothermal area Bjarnarflag by Mývatn are other options that are being considered.

“I find it very important that operations such as the Búdarháls power plant are launched and that we arrange matters in such a way that projects can also continue in north Iceland,” said Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir.

Click here to read more about HS Orka and Magma Energy.

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