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New Silicon Plant: Locals Worried

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New Silicon Plant: Locals Worried

United Silicon, Helguvík.

Photo: Screenshot from RÚV.

Residents and local leaders in Norðurþing, northeast Iceland, are closely following what’s going on at the currently-shut-down United Silicon factory at Helguvík, southwest Iceland.

A brand-new silicon factory, for the company PCC, is currently rising at Bakki, near Húsavík, at the same time as a stream of negative headlines about the United Silicon factory in Helguvík has been gaining national attention.

The United Silicon plant has consistently been breaking pollution restrictions and concerns have been raised about a range of issues including finance at the plant and staff safety. The plant narrowly escaped being shut down just before Easter, only to suffer a fire shortly after Easter and shut down regardless.

The Environment Agency has released a report into the plant and will not allow it to re-open until concerns have been adequately addressed. After being given time to respond, plant owners United Silicon have not made any amendments to the report and have instead requested the Environment Agency’s help in sorting things out, RÚV reports.

The company has said it is considering legal action against the manufacturer of its blast furnace which, owners say, has never worked exactly as it is supposed to.

Meanwhile, Norðurþing councilors are assuring residents that no environmental protection corners will be cut in their back yard. After a secret meeting with PCC, they claim the new silicon factory will be different and will be remarkably clean. There will be no flexibility on environmental and public health protection.

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