Chinese investor Huang Nubo is planning to reapply to the Icelandic Ministry of Industry for long-term lease of an extensive piece of land in Northeast Iceland, Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum, for tourism development.
Huang’s application for a concession was rejected by the previous government on the grounds that sufficient information on his plans was lacking, Fréttablaðið reports.
“We have been working on wrapping the matter up with municipalities in the region and the work is going well,” stated architect Halldór Jóhannsson, who serves as Huang’s spokesperson in Iceland. He hopes a new application can be submitted this summer.
The new application by Huang’s investment company, Zhongkun Group, will land on the desk of new Minister of Industry Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, who was not willing to comment on the issue yesterday.
However, she has expressed her support for the municipalities’ plans on earlier occasions, to acquire Grímsstaðir themselves and leasing it to Zhongkun Group.
Huang originally wanted to acquire the land in 2011 but was unable to obtain an exemption to do so as a non-EEA citizen by Icelandic authorities.
Following the rejection, six municipalities in Northeast Iceland agreed to acquire the piece of land and rent part of it to Zhongkun Group. Last year they negotiated the terms of the lease with Huang.
However, for the agreement to become valid, he requires a concession agreement from the Ministry of Industry.
In an interview with Iceland Review after signing the new government agreement on May 22, new Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson commented when asked about Huang’s plans:
“We haven’t taken a position on the acquisition of land by foreign investors—although I would like to make sure that the majority of the country remains in domestic ownership—but I favor ideas of local companies buying Grímsstaðir and leasing it to Huang.”
* Photo: Wikipedia.