Background for the project
In 2006 the US-based aluminum company Alcoa contacted the Greenland Home Rule with the wish to explore the opportunities for aluminium production in Greenland.
Greenland has an enormous potential for sustainable energy in terms of hydro power, which is suitable for this purpose. As it is getting more and more expensive to get access to energy elsewhere in the world the potential in Greenland became interesting. It is not the first time these potentials are looked at with the intent of utilizing them for industrial purposes. Already in the 1970s and onwards have there been various studies, however at that time it was not found sufficiently profitable to exploit the large energy potentials.
The aluminum industry finds itself in a position where it is becoming evermore difficult to secure competitive agreements on energy supply – especially in geographical areas where the civil consumers are willing to pay more for energy than what is possible for the industry. That can be seen in Europe and Northern America where the industry historically have been located.
Globally, there is a desire to reduce the use of non-sustainable energy sources such as fossil fuels. That makes it even more important for energy intensive industries to find alternate energy sources that does not emit greenhouse gasses in the same way that fossil fuels does.
For this purpose Greenland is the ideal place to go.
To Greenland the aluminum industry provides an opportunity to gain the benefit from utilizing sustainable resources that until now has not been used. It provides the opportunity to create new a new industry, increases export and enhance the qualifications of the workforce in Greenland. In other words it can help develop society in Greenland and provide better welfare. That is why this opportunity is also interesting to Greenland.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment conducted by the Greenland Self Rule between 2007-2010, has not shown any substantial environmental impacts to be aware of, which should cause reason to not go through with the aluminum project. In the ongoing development of the project further environmental assessments must be conducted and the project must be approved within the same high environmental standards as in the neighboring countries of Greenland.