Norsk Hydro eyes Greenland smelter, 500-MW hydro plant

Norwegian energy and aluminum group Norsk Hydro said January 8 it will study building an aluminum plant in Greenland to take advantage of the icy Arctic island’s hydropower capabilities.

“The study will cover the environmental, social, and economic issues related to a potential industrial development based on hydroelectric power supply,” Norsk Hydro ASA said.

The study, to be carried out with authorities in Greenland, will check the scope for building a primary aluminum plant able to produce 300,000 tons per year and requiring power-generating capacity of 500 MW, Hydro said.

“This is yet another proof of Greenland’s great potential for new industrial developments,� Siverth Heilmann, a cabinet member in Greenland’s Home Rule Government, said. �This can open up new opportunities for the community.”

First phase of study to review hydropower potential

In its first phase, the study will review the hydroelectric potential of Greenland, hydrological data, and environmental issues, Hydro said. The study is to be concluded by April 2007.

Hydro will outline the physical and technical requirements for a primary aluminum smelter, the need for personnel, and the scope for cooperation with local businesses in Greenland, the company said.

“Production of primary aluminum in Greenland would be well located to serve our key markets in Europe and the United States,” said Torstein Dale Sjoetveit, Hydro’s executive vice president responsible for the aluminum business.

Hydro will complete the sale of its oil and gas assets to Norwegian rival Statoil later this year and focus on its aluminum business. The world’s third largest integrated aluminum maker also has hydropower assets.

Greenland is the world’s largest island, whose surface is 80 percent covered by ice. Its 56,000 inhabitants depend mostly on fish and shrimp exports to earn a living.

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