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Alcoa Explores Building Geothermal Smelter In Iceland

U.S. aluminum company Alcoa Inc. said last week that it was launching a feasibility study to build one of the world's first geothermal-powered smelters in Iceland. If the study proves positive, Alcoa said the 250,000 metric ton per year (mtpy) aluminum plant would be built at Bakki in northern Iceland.

"This could conceivably be one of the first geothermal-powered smelters in the world, so we have a great deal of work ahead of us to prove the feasibility of this project," Alcoa executive vice president Bernt Reitan said. The study would examine the cost and timing of delivery of power.

Icelandic trade minister Valgerdur Sverrisdottir said in the statement that harnessing renewable energy for industrial use was central to the country's economic development strategy.

Alcoa is already building an aluminum smelter at Fjardaal in eastern Iceland. Construction on the Bakki site, if it gets the green light, is not expected to start before 2010, the company said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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