Environment Impact Assessment of Smelter Completed Skip to content

Environment Impact Assessment of Smelter Completed

The Icelandic National Planning Agency has completed its environmental impact assessment in northeast Iceland of a second power plant at Krafla, a power plant at Theistareykir, an aluminum smelter at Bakki near Húsavík and a high-voltage transmission line from Krafla and Theistareykir to the Bakki smelter.

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Another smelter in east Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“First and foremost it is a happy day for us that the universal environment impact assessment is completed,” head of the Nordurthing municipality Bergur Elías Ágústsson told visir.is.

The assessment states that the operations will unavoidably have a significant impact according to the understanding of the law on environmental impact assessments. The impact will also be irreversible.

The report is in fact rather negative, as stated in another story on visir.is. It mentions that a smelter at Bakki would increase the greenhouse gas emissions in Iceland and that it is uncertain whether the energy harnessing required for such a large [340,000-ton] smelter can be considered sustainable.

“It is clear that the operations will create employment opportunities in the area but the agency urges the municipalities and operational parties to work on realistic strategies on social developments in connection with the situation of the project at each time,” the report reads.

Ágústsson said this is nothing new. “There is nothing there that surprises us. We are satisfied with it because there are relatively few remarks and we will do our best to respond to them,” he said, adding that nothing stands in the way of building a smaller smelter with the annual production capacity of 250,000 tons.

Ágústsson criticizes the agency for how long it took to complete the assessment, “It took two years and four months,” he said. “But now we can start creating jobs.”

As for the next step, he said the district council is now waiting for a request of a development permit to be submitted. He expects experimental drilling for geothermal energy to begin next summer.

Click here to read more about the controversial Bakki smelter.

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