According to sources close to the business newspaper Viðskiptablaðið, Alcoa has lost all patience with the situation in Húsavík and will drop plans to build a proposed aluminium smelter in the region.
The project has been fraught with obstacles since its inception. Most notably, Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir has been an outspoken opponent of the plan. A damning assessment from the Icelandic National Planning Agency concluded that the proposed smelter would also have a “significant negative impact” on the environment not just of the surrounding area, but on Iceland as a whole.
Moreover, it came to light that a company called Carbon Recycling – which converts CO2 into methanol – has been in talks with national power company Landsvirkjun to operate in the same area – which, if it were to happen, would mean there could be no smelter anyway, as the energy requirements for both would be too great for the region.
The source that Viðskiptablaðið spoke to said that the process of getting the ball rolling for the smelter has taken too long, and that the patience of the investors involved has run out. The final straw, the source said, was the aforementioned methanol plant.
Should the story prove true, this could mark a turning point in Icelandic history in terms of the country’s relationship with heavy industry, and its future with environmentally-friendly business ideas.
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