From the smelter plant
The direct impacts from the smelter plant during operation are primarily in the form of chemical substances. The largest emissions are through flue gas that is formed in the melting pots. Melting pots are therefore completely closed and the smoke is passed through pipes to a treatment plant, where fluorine and sulphur compounds in particular are separated to the greatest possible extent from the smoke and reused in production.
The photo shows Alcoa’s Fjardaál smelter plant in East Iceland. To the left is the port and the actual smelter plant to the right. Between the two smelter workshops you can see the smoke treatment plant (yellow pipe and high chimney).
To always monitor the treatment plant’s efficiency, the air quality around the smelter plant will be studied on an ongoing basis.
There will also be studies of the vegetation in the area around the smelter plant. These studies can be used to set threshold limit values for the emission of, for example, fluoride. The level of emissions must be so low that the plant’s emissions will not have negative impacts on the surroundings.
To study the possible impacts on the sea, it is useful to know something about fish stocks and marine biodiversity. As part of the EIA, the biodiversity around the smelter plant will be studied. In addition, trout stocks will be studied and fishermen in the area will be consulted.
In addition to chemical substances that can impact the environment, there can also be physical impacts such as noise. Studies for the EIA include a characterisation of the noise environment around the smelter plant. Visual changes by building a smelter plant also impact the environment physically. This is studied in all parts of the project, the smelter plant, the associated port, lines from the hydroelectric power to the plant and the hydroelectric power plants themselves.
In addition to the smelter plant’s possible impact on nature and wildlife, the population’s health will also be studied. Health will be taken into account in connection with the actual smelter plant and possible impacts from the project as a whole, where the possible indirect impacts are included. This also involves how people’s lifestyles may change and how it impacts health in a negative or positive direction.