June 21, 2006
Development in Bakki – the key to a bright future

"A smelter and an environmentally friendly power plant in North-Iceland will determine whether hundreds of families in this part of the country can look brightly towards the future or just give up and move to the capital area. It is as simple as that," says Tryggvi Finnsson, manager of the Development Agency for the Region Thingeyjarsýsla in an article in Morgunbladid recently.

Among the issues addressed by Tryggvi in the article is the lack of economic development in the area over the past few years and decades. He says the region has been hurt by changes in the economy. For that reason, there has been a considerable decrease in the population in Húsavík. However, he is optimistic for the area because of the recent MOU on a feasability study for a possible 250,000 tpy smelter in Bakki north of Húsavík.

Tryggvi writes: “The impact of these developments on the population in the Thingeyjar region will be very positive.  In spite of forceful attempts at boosting the economy in the area in recent years and some growth, e.g. in the travel industry, the population in Húsavík has decreased by about 250 people in one decade, which means about 100 families. That is quite a lot. We must react to this serious development and turn the retreat into an advance. Making a living in the Thingeyjar region, as in most other places outside the capital area, has for a long time depended on the natural resources of the area, mainly agriculture and fishing.  On account of technical development and strict quotas, there has been a huge decline in the number of people involved in these principal industries in Iceland.”

“But we cannot just give up. We must look at other options if we are to reverse this development. It is natural for every region in the country to review its strengths and weaknesses, to discover unused resources and places where new opportunities lie. In the Thingeyjar region we should obviously consider our geothermal resources. The geothermal areas in Krafla, Theistareykir, Bjarnarflag and other places have been utilised since the middle ages.”

Tryggvi concludes: “We, the people of Thingeyjar county, should wake up and utilise the geothermal resources to produce energy. The energy could be exported in the form of aluminum for practical uses in various kinds of production all over the world instead of the sulphur which was exported a long time ago to produce gunpowder.  It is therefore notable when the opponents of this kind of economic development have a grudge against these plans.  As there is no reasonable argument for the negative impact on the environment on account of this project, these individuals use well-known forms of denigration. People feign opinions on the matter and produce a web of lies about the plans being other than publicly announced and publicly discussed by the appropriate groups.”