Hafnarfjördur Opts for New Vote on Smelter Skip to content

Hafnarfjördur Opts for New Vote on Smelter

The inhabitants of Hafnarfjördur are in for another referendum on the enlargement of the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter in Straumsvík within the municipality’s borders, which was originally rejected in a referendum in 2007.

The smelter in Straumsvík. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

The town council has received a petition signed by enough people to demand a new referendum. Preparations have begun and it is possible that the enlargement referendum will take place on March 6, at the same time as the Icesave referendum, Fréttabladid reports.

Mayor of Hafnarfjördur Lúdvík Geirsson said informal discussions between the municipality and Rio Tinto Alcan have taken place and formal answers are being awaited.

“I have talked with Rannveig Rist, the smelter’s CEO, and the smelter is working on its answers in writing,” Geirsson said, adding that he expects a decision to be made at a town council meeting this week.

Rio Tinto Alcan has decided to renovate the smelter in Straumsvík with the goal of using more electricity than is currently being used.

Rist said agreements with Landsvirkjun, the national power company, on additional energy from the Búdarhálsvirkjun power plant are in the final stages.

The total cost of raising the smelter’s electricity usage will be around USD 330 million (EUR 233) and result in an increased production capacity of 40,000 tons, from 178,000 to 218,000 tons per year.

According to Morgunbladid, the project will create 100 new jobs.

Click here to read more about the smelter enlargement.

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