By Lowana Veal
REYKJAVIK (IDN) – Silicon metal smelters have taken over from aluminium plants as the desirable heavy industry for Iceland. At Helguvik in the southwest of the island, close to Reykjavik’s international airport, United Silicon has just started operating a silicon smelter, while an adjacent lot is marked out for a silicon smelter of similar production capacity – 110,000 tonnes per year – run by Thorsil.
The United Silicon plant is situated just over one kilometre from the southernmost point of Reykjanesbaer municipality. Plans were developed for industrial development around the harbour of Helguvik over 14 years ago, including an aluminium smelter slightly north of Helguvik which has never been completed because of disputes over who should provide energy.