Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir spoke in Húsavík, northeast Iceland, yesterday and said she supports the construction of an aluminum smelter to be powered by geothermal energy near the town.
Sverrisdóttir said it is logical to use the energy in the area for an industry that requires a lot of energy. She claimed the construction of a smelter would not harm the environment and that its operations would be sustainable development, Fréttabladid reports.
The minister spoke at a congress organized by the Employment Development Association of Thingeyjarsýsla Community (ATh) and Markthing, the Marketing Council of Thingeygjarsýsla Community.
Managing director of ATh, Tryggvi Finnsson, said: “The community here is not sustainable as it is. Inhabitants are decreasing and the average age is increasing. To reverse that development it is best to harness the natural resources the region has to offer.”
Finnsson said people are optimistic a smelter will be constructed in the area. “The only thing people worry about is the political debate in society.”
The local representative of the Left-Green Movement, Ásbjörn Th. Björgvinsson, said the Left-Greens are totally opposed to the idea of an aluminum smelter in the region. “We worry a smelter might harm other development in the area, which is significant.”
Thorsteinn Hilmarsson, the information officer at Landsvirkjun, the national power company, said the extent of geothermal energy in the region is currently being researched in accordance with an agreement with aluminum company Alcoa.