The proposed site of the aluminum plant
During the start-up phase of the aluminum project a number of options were put forward with respect to the location of the aluminum plant, ranging from Nuuk in the south to Sisimiut in the north. Prior to a decision on the plant's location being made, a number of preliminary technical and environmental surveys were carried out that were designed to clarify which locations were thought to provide the best overall conditions for both the project and the surroundings. In spring 2007 it was decided to go ahead with a possible site on the island of Maniitsoq. In addition to environmental and technical considerations, the distance to the hydropower potentials was also a significant factor. Despite the name Maniitsoq (which in Inuit means "the rugged place"), the site chosen is in relatively flat terrain .
The proposed site of the aluminum plant (Photo: Greenland Development)
With the decision on the site having been made, it was then possible to commence actual surveys of how both the project and local infrastructure development were to be carried out, and to launch studies looking at the relationship between the aluminum project and the local community.
Maniitsoq and the suggested location of the aluminium plant (Illustration by Maniitsoq Municipality)
The location of an aluminum plant on the island of Maniitsoq will provide a close connection to an existing urban community. This location will require an access road to be built from the town of Maniitsoq to the aluminum plant. The exact course and design of the road are still under consideration, but it is expected to have a length of approx. 11 km.
The aluminum plant will be located at a suitable distance from the town, so that employees can get to and from work quickly and easily, whilst at the same time ensuring that the impact of the plant will not be felt in the town. Visually, the town and the plant are separated by fells, in addition to which the aluminum plant has its own harbor in which it can receive raw materials, as well as ship out finished products and other heavy freight.
The aluminum plant is located in the landscape such that the need for clearing an area by blasting out rock is kept to an absolute minimum, although a close connection to a new harbor is retained. The aluminum plant is dominated by the two large potrooms. Two flue gas cleaning plants can be seen between the potrooms. Furthest to the left on the picture is the transformer station in which the high voltage current from the hydroelectric power stations is rectified and converted for use in the potrooms. The harbor can be seen at the top of the picture with the conveyor to the silos in which aluminum oxide and other raw materials are stored. The foundry, in which the liquid metal is molded into finished products, is located between the silos and the potrooms. Various workshops, administration buildings, etc., are also illustrated. (Illustration by Alcoa)
The access road to the aluminum plant will also make up the access road to the "new urban district", which is located on the eastern side of the island, north of the existing town.
The road will also enable new business areas in Ataa bay to be established.
The "new urban district" will be physically separated from the existing town by the local topography, but will represent a natural link between the aluminum plant and the existing town.
The local authority, Qeqqata Kommunia, has launched a number of initiatives to incorporate the local citizens' own visions for the layout of the new urban district into the planning process. In addition, Qeqqata Kommunia and Greenland Self-Government are working together on studying the overall need for infrastructure development and the possible urban development of Maniitsoq.