The Icelandic government has begun talks with HS Orka with regards to Magma Energy.
Vísir reports that Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir emphasized yesterday that eminent domain is still a possibility, should the government not be able to achieve its aims with HS Orka through negotiations.
Speaking on the radio show Á Sprengisandi, Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir said that for her, the main focus would be to reduce the period of time that HS Orka can rent geothermal energy deposits from 65 years. In that context, she mentioned that the Energy Policy Committee had recommended a period of 25 to 30 years, while the Prime Minister had suggested 30 to 40 years.
The government has taken this decision after an online petition calling for a referendum on natural resources and for the sale of HS Orka to be stopped had reached nearly 50,000 signatures. The government then pledged that it would ensure all natural resources would be in public ownership, and that HS Orka would come under the ownership of the state again.
Apparently, what they meant by this latter declaration was that the length of time HS Orka would be allowed to rent natural resources would be shortened. At the same time, the prime minister and other government officials have said that eminent domain – where the government seizes ownership of a company in the name of national interest – remains a possibility.
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