Smelter Plans for Iceland’s Helguvík Reviewed Skip to content

Smelter Plans for Iceland’s Helguvík Reviewed

Leaders of Nordurál – Century Aluminum recently presented new plans to the government for the smelter in Helguvík, southwest Iceland, which is currently under construction, proposing voluminous greater capacity for aluminum production than originally planned.

The aluminum smelter is being constructed in four phases and production is scheduled to begin in 2010, Fréttabladid reports.

The original plans assumed that 150,000 tons of aluminum would be produced after the first phase and 250,000 tons after the second phase, leaving the possibility for greater production capacity open.

Árni Sigfússon, Mayor of Reykjanesbaer municipality where Helguvík is located, said that since the environmental impact assessment was undertaken with a 250,000-ton production in mind, a new assessment would be required for greater capacity.

However, according to the latest plans for the smelter, 90,000 tons of aluminum will be produced for each construction phase, so after the smelter is completed it would be capable of producing 360,000 tons of aluminum annually.

CEO of Nordurál Ragnar Gudmundsson did not want to comment on these new plans apart from saying that no decisions had been made.

Ground was broken for the smelter in Helguvík last June and construction work began this fall. Contractors in construction have been hit hard by the economic crisis and in the southwestern region of Sudurnes alone, 200 people have lost their jobs in construction.

However, no one involved in constructing the Helguvík smelter has been laid off and officials remain optimistic that they will be able to continue to fund operations in relation to the smelter.

Click here to read more about the heated debates surrounding the Helguvík smelter.

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