An agreement has been reached to build a silicon plant in Suðurnes, which is projected to create some 300 jobs over the next two years.
Suðurnes has the highest unemployment rates of any region of Iceland, and job opportunities have been both scarce and fickle. Dutch military consultancy firm ECA Program had hoped to start business there, but their permit was refused by the Minister of the Interior. Magma Energy also hopes to do work in the region, but that company is currently in talks with the government over how long they can rent geothermal deposits in the area.
Eyjan reports that Globe Speciality Metals, an American company, stands behind the new agreement. Construction of the silicon plant will begin this summer. While the plant will require 65 megawatts of power to operate, this is a fraction of the power required by a proposed aluminium smelter for the area, the plans for which seem to be on ice at the moment.
Financing for the project is fully funded without any government assistance. Globe will own 85% of the Icelandic Silicon Corporation, which will own the plant, and the minority partner will be Tomahawk Development Company.
All told, the plant is projected to create 300 jobs for the beleaguered region of Iceland.