The Alcoa-Fjardaál smelter in Reydarfjördur, east Iceland, was formally opened on Saturday. Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde said the new government would continue to cooperate with the company as it had before the elections.
Reydarfjördur residents celebrated in the local sports hall. Forty pots are expected to be taken into use in this first stage of the smelter’s operations and 336 pots by the end of the year, Fréttabladid reports.
Alcoa CEO Alan Belda addressed the assembly. “This is a big moment,” Belda said and thanked Iceland’s government for its support and then spoke of planting of trees which took place after the opening ceremony.
“The planting of trees symbolizes our foresight. By planting trees we demonstrate that these operations are not just about concrete, but also about people and living things,” Belda said.
“A dream is coming true,” Haarde said and described the Alcoa-Fjardaál smelter as a hi-tech workplace. “The heavy industry companies will increasingly export hi-tech products,” the prime minister predicted.
CEO of Alcoa-Fjardaál Tómas Már Sigurdsson said the smelter was part of making the Eastfjords the second largest employment area in the country, after southwest Iceland. “We see educated people originally from the East Fjords returning from the capital region,” he said.