Residents of Hafnafjordur voted on Saturday to reject a proposal to enlarge the Alcan aluminuim plant bordering their town.Alcan, the company which owns the current aluminium processing plant at Straumsvik, was hoping to double the size of the plant and increase production from the current 180 thousand tonnes to 460 thousand tonnes by 2010. The plant, which many visitors to Iceland pass on the way into Reykjavik, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.
The outcome of the vote was close with a 88 vote majority for the opponents. Of the 16,647 people on the electoral list in Hafnafjordur, 12,747 voted or 76.6%. Of this 50.3% said no to the proposal and 49.7% said yes. “The difference is little of course, but nonetheless we have to respect the results,” said the mayor of Hafnarfjordur, Ludvik Geirsson.
The supporters of the plan were disappointed with the outcome when the poll was counted late on Saturday evening. Rannveig Rist, Director of Alcan, thanked a group of supporters for the work they had put in into the campaign and said that Alcan would continue running the plant as best it could but it had, however, no plan B.