Initial study results have revealed that some aspects of the proposed project related to the provision of energy, construction, and infrastructure require additional investigation. This is currently underway, with the Greenland Self-Rule Government and Alcoa working together to assess all the available options. Some of the options under consideration carry the potential to extend the time required to complete the project, but others offer potential for gains that would help reduce such an extension. The environmental, social and health impact assessment (EIA) process has been idled temporarily to allow for exact definition of the scope of the project. During its fall session in 2012, the parliament of Greenland passed legislation that defines a framework for the development of potential large-scale projects in the country. The parliament also reconfirmed the government’s mandate for conducting further studies of the aluminum project. Alcoa will continue to consult with the Greenland Self-Rule Government to evaluate the impact of the framework legislation on the feasibility of the proposed project.
ERM continued baseline studies for the environmental, social and health impact assessment (EIA), visiting towns and settlements in late September. A char field study also was conducted in September.
Technological field investigations have continued at two potential hydro sites, at the smelter site on Maniitsoq Island and in the transmission line areas. Additional information is available in the October technical studies update. go
See the Community Meetings page for information about public meetings on project updates.
A study group from ERM traveled in Greenland during the last two weeks of June to collect information for the environmental, social, and health impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed aluminum smelter project and to facilitate public involvement in the EIA process. ERM is cooperating with several Greenlandic government and non-government partners on the EIA.
Traveling with the group to Nuuk and the municipality of Queqqata was Kristjan Halldorsson, who recently was appointed acting community liaison officer for Alcoa in Greenland.
Read additional information on the EIA field studies. go
A meteorology station was installed at the proposed smelter site to monitor weather conditions and collect data on temperature and wind speed and direction. This information will be used in the design of the smelter.
On February 19, local city working groups were formed in Maniitsoq. These working groups will present a first draft of the city’s plans for future activities in Maniitsoq before Easter 2009.
Also on February 19, Alcoa Kalaallit Nunaat/Greenland representative visited eighth and ninth graders at Kilaaseeqqap Atuarfia Elementary School in Maniitsoq. Several students at the school are working on a school project on the proposed smelter project.
Seeking the detailed knowledge that local hunters and fishers have accumulated over many generations, ERM—a consulting firm working with Alcoa on the smelter project—interviewed representatives from Knapk, the Greenlandic national union of fishers and hunters, in Maniitsoq on August 20 and 21. The consultation focused on the rivers and lakes that could be affected by the hydropower project, the char and coastal fish inhabiting the site area, the occurrence of whales, and caribou and musk ox.
As studies into the feasibility of broadening and strengthening the modern Greenlandic economy through the introduction of an aluminum industry continue, a historic and abandoned fishing and hunting camp has been found.
While performing surveys for future bore-hole drilling at the southern hydro site, the Greenland National Museum found the remains of a fishing and reindeer/caribou camp. Alcoa moved the drilling site for the borings slightly to avoid the area and flagged the camp as a "do not disturb" site on its mapping. The museum will be conducting a study of the area in August 2008, and the results of that study will be made available once completed in early 2009.
Greenland parliament decided to advance into a second phase of joint studies with Alcoa into the feasibility of establishing a world-class sustainable aluminum industry in Greenland.
The parliament strongly endorsed Greenland Home Rule government's recommendation that the proposed 340,000 metric-ton-per-year smelter should be sited at Maniitsoq and allocated significant funding to support the joint studies. These studies, which will extend through 2009, will delve in detail into the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the proposed facility. The parliament is expected to convene again in 2009 to consider Greenland's ownership position in this project.
Based upon studies completed to date, the Greenland Home Rule has drafted a preliminary strategic environmental assessment (SEA) report for the smelter project that is available for public review.
The studies performed to date contribute to the overall environmental assessment of the proposed project. These will be supplemented by additional regional assessments and archaeological surveys, which will be conducted in 2008 and 2009. Once specific sites have been identified for the proposed smelter, hydro, and transmission facilities, site-specific and detailed environmental, social, and health impact assessments will be conducted. Combined, these studies will form the basis for the project's necessary approvals by the appropriate authorities.
Download the SEA go
Since the beginning of the northern summer, Alcoa has performed several hydrology studies in western Greenland to help determine the capacity of the river systems to support development of the company's proposed aluminum smelter.
The studies also will yield insight into what would be required to construct the individual hydropower plants that would form an integrated system to supply energy to the proposed smelter. All smelter sites currently under consideration in the three municipalities will require connection to multiple hydropower sources.
International hydrology experts, including PB Power, and Greenlandic companies Asiaq and Inuit Service are assisting in the effort.
Initial results are encouraging, and final calculations and planning will begin once fieldwork is completed at the end of the month. Once the sites that could work have been identified, they will be subjected to a thorough and public environmental assessment process.