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Friday, January 03, 2003

In a report for the BBC's Costing the Earth radio programme, Alex Kirby has reported on a long-running campaign against the building of an aluminium smelter + 11 hydro-electric dams on Iceland's east coast by the mining multi-national, Alcoa.

The building of the smelter has been proposed because a very large proportion of Iceland's economy is currently accounted for by just fishing + tourism.

With so few opportunities for paid employment many of Iceland's rural areas have experienced considerable depopulation and the government is thus keen to ensure that existing communities remain viable by diversifying the country's economy and providing new jobs in remote areas.

Unfortunately, the damming of rivers in order to power such a smelter could adversely affect the migration of fish, reindeer + goose communities, increase soil erosion (along exposed shore-lines) and would permanently alter a beautiful and relatively pristine landscape... with the smelter itself also having a serious impact on the area's future tourism potential.