The Variety of Icelandic Aluminum

Iceland, home to just 0.005% of the world’s population, produces almost 2% of the world's aluminum. Our aluminum travels all over the world and some of it returns in the guise of a smartphone or sportscar, soda can or designer furniture. Sometimes we wrap entire buildings in aluminum, but sometimes it’s medicine, chewing gum or the leftovers from dinner that get wrapped in the versatile metal.

With Iceland’s supply of green energy, state of the art technology and a first-rate workforce, our product becomes the world’s greenest aluminum. And that’s before the virtually endless recycling process even begins.

Adding small amounts of different metals to pure aluminum creates aluminum alloys. Supplementing aluminum with manganese, magnesium, zinc, copper, silicon or a number of other metals creates aluminum alloys that retain aluminum’s lightness, workability, resistance to corrosion and numerous other desirable properties while increasing the strength of the metal. A steel-strength aluminum alloy houses the iPhone, while a wafer-thin film of pure aluminum protects food and medicine. The versatility of aluminum and its alloys makes the metal one of the most widely used raw materials.

Transportation: 27% Machinery and Equipment: 22% Construction: 25% Packaging: 16% Other: 5% Consumer Goods: 5%

The World’s Greenest Aluminum

Icelandic aluminum is a world leader when it comes to minimizing environmental impacts. The world’s lowest CO2 emissions are achieved with a combination of well-run, state of the art methods and facilities, and electricity generated exclusively from renewable resources. With continued focus on a variety small improvements – increased recycling, better raw materials etc. – we have managed to reduce our footprint from 1.65 tonnes CO2 / tonne Al in 2006, to 1.61 tonne / Al in 2017, which comes close to the practical minimum achievable with our processes.

Iceland is one of only a few countries that produce practically all their electricity from renewable resources. Most aluminum smelters use electricity from natural gas, coal or oil, with the result that the world average carbon footprint is estimated to be around 12 tonnes CO2 / tonne Al – almost tenfold that of Icelandic smelters. With steady improvements to our methods and processes we have decreased our own CO2 emissions by about 75% from the year 1990, making our product the world’s greenest aluminum.

Direct and indirect C0₂ emissions – the top 15 Al producing countries tonnes CO₂ / tonnes Al 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Iceland Norway Canada Brazil Malaysia Russia Saudi Arabia Qatar UAE Bahrain Australia China USA India South-Africa Al Plants Natural Gas Coal Source: CRU / Hydro analysis

608.984 tonnes Al2O3

The production process of aluminum isn’t all that complicated. Aluminum is a very common element but it's almost never found in nature unless bound with other substances, such as oxygen. We use aluminum oxide — oxygenated aluminum, or AL203 — a fine-grained powder which is imported to Grundartangi by sea and transported into the plant in a closed-curcuit system of pipes and silos.

4,649,000 MWh

Compounds of aluminum and oxygen in aluminum oxide are very strong. In order to separate the elements, we need not only a lot of energy, but also a new partner for the oxygen. The oxygen (O) is separated from the aluminum (Al) by electrolysis and bound to carbon (C). This creates CO2 and what remains is pure aluminum.

317.179 tonnes Al

The product is pure aluminum that is moulded into units that are easy to handle, stacked up in container and driven to a cargo ship waiting in the dock, just 600 metres from the aluminum plant itself. Norðurál uses some of its aluminum to develop alloys that can be four times as strong as aluminum and much more valuable. In the end, all products made by the plant get delivered to international markets where they are used for packaging, transport, electronic devices, construction and more.

Responsibility – Safety – Efficiency

Norðurál produces high quality aluminum in a responsible, safe and efficient manner. Our quality control protocols are subject to regular review in a process of continuous improvement. All staff is encouraged to participate in maintaining and improving the quality of our operations at all levels.

The safety and health of our people is our first priority, every single day. Norðurál is the largest workplace in the West of Iceland and plays a pivotal social role – not only as the principal source of income for hundreds of families, but also more generally for the economical, environmental and social well-being of the region as a whole. We take our responsibilities seriously, as well as our commitment to operate well within the framework set by law and regulations.

Norðurál's Targets for Quality:

Satisfied Clients
Increased Efficiency
Active Quality Control




Green Accounting

Green Accounting

Green sccounting is a thorough register of all materials brought to the aluminum plant and delivered from it. Our aim is to maximize the efficient use of materials and provide a precise account of how undesirable materials are disposed of.

Green accounting has various direct and indirect positive effects on company culture. It increases care in the use and disposal of all materials and improves safety in the operation of heavy equipment. At the same time, green accounting provides a valuable tool for identifying inefficiencies and unsafe practices, minimizing waste and improving health and safety.

The year 2017 passed without a single major environmental incident. Filtration systems ran smoothly and all monitoring measurements were well within operational license limits. Major maintenance was conducted on the motors in the oldest filtering complex. A major initiative to increase recycling of non-industrial waste began, with an aim to enhance staff awareness of environmental issues.

Steel Pellets:



Decreased Emissions Allowances
with Increased Production

Norðurál’s aluminum plant in Grundartangi has an operations license for producing up to 350 thousand tonnes of aluminum per year. A new license was issued by The Environment Agency of Iceland in 2015, with expiration on 16 December 2031. According to the new license the company’s emissions allowances for fluoride and SO2 have been slightly reduced.

In the new operating license of Norðurál the allowable emissions for fluoride have been reduced from 0.5 kg to 0.47 kg/t on average per year if the yearly production is under 320 thousand tonnes. If the yearly production exceeds 320 thousand tonnes the allowable emissions are reduced even further, to 0.43 kg/t.

0,0 0,1 0,2 0,3 0,4 0,5 0,6 0,0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1,0 1,2 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 Fluoride (kg/t Al) 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 Dust (kg/t Al) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 SO₂ (kg/t Al) Norðurál - emissions License Fluoride, dust and SO₂ emissions remain well within limits set in operating license.

Auditor's Statement

I have reviewed and audited the information presented in Norðurál’s green accounting for the year 2017. The books have been reviewed with regard to whether the information stipulated in articles 6, 7 and 8 of Regulation No. 851/2002 is available for scrutiny and whether the numerical information presented complies with data from the financial records and the company’s monitoring of key figures in environmental matters.

After having conducted a review of the data, my opinion is that the green accounting meets the conditions of Regulation No. 851/2002 and gives a thorough account of the company’s environmental impact in the year of 2017.

Elín Vignisdóttir, Geographer
Reykjavík, 26 April 2018
Materials and Resources 2017 Qty Unit
Members of staff 577 ♂ ♀
Ratio male/female 500/77 ♂/♀
Electricity 4,649,000 MWh
Oil 503.4 1,000 ltr
Gas 110 tonnes
Fresh water 171,075 m3
Sea water 7,884,000 m3
Total raw materials used 2.34 t/t Al
Imported raw materials 2.34 t/t Al
Hazardous substances (solid) 6,711 tonnes
Hazardous substances (liquid) 518.7 1,000 ltr
Misc. packaging < 400 tonnes
Emissions and Waste Qty Unit
Atmospheric emissions
Fluoride (gaseous and particles) F 0.29 kg/t Al
Sulphur dioxide SO2 8.89 kg/t Al
Dust 0.64 kg/t Al
Carbon Dioxide CO2 1.61 t/t Al
Fluorocarbons, PFC CO2 equivalents 0.09 kg CO2 /t Al
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons PAH16 0.000024 kg/t Al
Release into surface water/groundwater/sea
Sludge 0.07 kg/t Al
Oils / fats in cooling agents < 0.5 ppm
Release into municipal sewage system
From septic tanks 8.08 tonnes
Landfill waste
Waste for compacting 0.48 kg/t Al
Dumping to seashore repository 29 kg/t Al
Recyclable waste
Anode waste and coal dust 113 kg/t Al
Aluminum slag 10.7 kg/t Al
Wood 0.9 kg/t Al
Scrap metal 2.7 kg/t Al
Cardboard 0.12 kg/t Al
Plastic 0.02 kg/t Al
Waste material for disposal
Total waste 0.014 kg/t Al

Statement of the CEO and Managing Director

All information presented in our green accounting for the year 2017 is provided in good faith. We use state of the art emissions control technologies that are regularly and thoroughly maintained. The results of our internal measurements are used for improvement in order to minimise the environmental impact of our operations.

Operating in harmony with the environment is a key factor in what we do and we reach our goals by constantly monitoring environmental factors. The environmental protection aspect of our operations went well this year and active monitoring was conducted in accordance with our monitoring plan and the conditions stipulated in our operating license.

Ragnar Guðmundsson
Managing Director
Gunnar Guðlaugsson
Plant Manager
Waste 2017 2016 2015  
Sewage material (tonnes)        
Sludge 21.3 28.2 36.7  
Other septic tank waste 8.1 9.2 8.3  
Recyclable material (tonnes)        
Spent anodes 34.311 32.873 33.923  
Coal Dust 1.436 1.174 564  
Bathing agent (tonnes) 3.150 2.070 2.184  
Aluminum slag 3.402 2.915 2.319  
Scrap iron 843 951 766  
Wood 290 365 396  
Cardboard 39 43 22  
Plastic 5 15 12  
Oil - Oil sediment 13 16 19  
Rubber tires 8.6 5.1 5.9  
Batteries and electronic devices 1.7 5.6 2.0  
Cloth - 0.9 0.3  
Light bulbs 0.1 0.2 0.1  
Oily waste 7 26 23  
Tarmac 106 0 64  
Waste (tonnes)        
Waste from electronics 0.0 0.2 0.4  
Misc. waste 4 9 20  
Paint 0.4 0.1 0.5  
Material in seashore repository (tonnes)        
Spent pot liners 6.652 9.771 8.354  
Carbon – Rodding shop 1.088 1.181 1.059  
Carbon - Pot rooms 722 1.445 1.775  
Sweeping - 4 2  
Cut-offs from pot liners 469 417 328  
Pot liners 39 5 106  
Gravel and soil 90 15 125  
Solid waste (tonnes)        
Waste for compacting 146 138 159  
Organic waste 7 6 -  
Atmospheric emissions        
CO2 (tonnes) 479.065 474.556 482.436  
CF4/C2F6 (tonnes CO2 equiv.) 30.079 49.261 22.632  
SO2 (tonnes) 2.819 2.920 3.400  
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (kg) 7.6 7.5 17.6  
Fluoride total (tonnes) 93 110 94  
Dust - PM10 (tonnes) 202 217 193  
Poisons and hazardous materials        
DAG 2671 (litres) - - 450  
DAG 554/20 (litres) 15,325 14,489 15,159  
Plicast strong mix P (tonnes) 130 196 161  
Ramming paste (tonnes) 618 884 450  
Collar paste (tonnes) 1,325 1,627 1,950  
Propane gas (tonnes) 110 90 114  
Marine gas oil (tonnes) - - -  
Diesel fuel (tonnes) 503,410 538,148 467,280  
Hydraulic fluid (litres) 1,684 4,160 6,240 11,902
Sodium (tonnes) 167 263 176  
Aluminum fluoride (tonnes) 4,337 4,217 4,860  
Aluminum oxide (tonnes) 608,984 600,542 580,801  
Ferromanganese (tonnes) 12 9 12  
Ferrophosphorus (tonnes) 12 19 17  
Production of pure aluminum (tonnes) 317,179 313,050 311,911  
Aluminum oxide (tonnes) 608,984 600,542 580,801  
Aluminum fluoride (tonnes) 4,337 4,217 4,860  
Pre-cast rods - net use (tonnes) 133,544 132,704 131,494  
Propane gas (tonnes) 110 90 114  
Diesel fuel (tonnes) 503,410 538,148 467,280  
Sodium (tonnes) 167 263 176  
Collar Paste (tonnes) 163 163 1,950  
Cast iron (tonnes) 976 1,367 1,139  
Forks and repair material (tonnes) 580 674 764  
Electricity (MWh) 4,649,000 4,663,000 4,623,486  
Industrial water (m3) 102,645 94,556 97,514  
Fresh water (m3) 68,430 63,037 74,825  
Sea water (m3) 7,884,000 7,884,000 7,884,000  
Raw materials        
Silicon (tonnes) 4,286 4,343 3,834  
Magnesium (tonnes) 169 184 170  
Titanium (tonnes) 63 65 57  
Strontium (tonnes) 19 22 20  
Hydrolic oil (litres) 1,684 4,160 6,240  
Coolants (litres) 4,101 4,396 4,581  
Misc. petroleum cleaning agents (litres) 940 1,060 1,040  
Lubricant (lítrar) 4,547 5,650 7,176  
Ferrosilicon (tonnes) 25 25 32  
Ferromanganese (tonnes) 12 9 12  
Ferrophosphorus (tonnes) 12 19 17  
Carbon (tonnes) 60 83 53  
Steel pellets (tonnes) 56 55 69  
Wood sticks (pcs.) 10,900 16,600 10,850  
Batteries (pcs.) 87 67 41  


How We Measure Fluoride Gas

Measurements of fluoride gas emissions through the pot room roof are done by assessing the concentration levels with a laser as well as assessing the air volume that gets released through the roof by measuring the airflow.

For comparison we use filter assessments of fluoride gas concentrations in the roof of the pot room, made by the Icelandic Innovation Center (NMÍ).

The results of highly accurate spot-checks made by the Innovation Center indicate less fluoride gas emissions through the roof than our internal assessments show. Similar results were obtained for dust and SO2.

0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 A31-60 B31-60 C31-60 D31-60 D91-130 Fluoride (kg/t Al) A31-60 B31-60 C31-60 D31-60 D91-130 Dust (kg/t Al) 0.00 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.14 0.16 Fluoride Dust Fluoride and dust comparison (kg/t Al) Norðurál - Fluoride NMÍ Norðurál - Dust Norðurál - Dust NMÍ Norðurál - Fluoride NMÍ Spot-checks by the Icelandic Innovation Center (NMÍ) are lower than Norðurál's internal assessments in all instances.

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring entails research and monitoring of 109 environmental factors in and surrounding the area of Hvalfjörður. The purpose is to ensure that the operations of Norðurál and other businesses in the area are not harmful to the environment.

The environmental monitoring is conducted by independent monitoring parties and the results have unequivocally demonstrated that Norðurál’s operations meet all the criteria stipulated in the operating license and regulations.

Reports and Suggestions

We encourage our staff and contractors to report environmental risks and make suggestions for improvement of procedure and protocol. All such reports are recorded and assessed with an eye to making all feasible adjustments and corrections. 34 reports were recorded for 2017.

Our system is similar to friendly reminders in the office lunch room – except our cups and leftovers are measured in tonnes. Constant vigilance helps us to continually improve our environment, near and far.


We're using a towing rig designed for pulling weights of over ten tonnes
to run small errands with very light loads
and ferry painting crews between places.
This is a diesel rig. Can't we find a more
eco-friendly method of transportation, for
example using electricity?


Acquisition of electric vehicles to replace
fossil-burning vehicles, fork lifts and shuttles.
Fast-charge stations installed in parking lot
for staff and visitors, free of charge.

Norðurál and the Community

Business Integrity

Norðurál's parent company, Century Aluminum, and all its subsidiaries, have made a commitment to ethical conduct and lawful business practices worldwide. US and international laws and regulations prohibit corrupt practices and transactions, such as misleading or fraudulent accounting and reporting, and improper gifts or favors.

Detailed policy documents establish standards and protocols to ensure compliance with legal and social requirements for the ethical conduct of an honest and reputable company.

Code of Ethics

Century Aluminum Company, parent company of Norðurál, and all its subsidiaries, commit to strictly apply and follow stringent requirements for honesty, integrity and propriety in all its operations, transactions and conduct. All members of management are signatories to the company Code of Ethics and committed to maintain the company's high standards of honesty and integrity.

No empleoyee may promise, give, or accept gifts, benefits, compensation, or favor, to parties public or private, or to a spouse, partner or child, personally or through an intermediary, that may create a conflict of interest, or undue gain, or improperly influence decision making. Company employees and their immediate family members may not demand or accept compensation in any form beyond the proper and honest practice of business transactions.

The Paris Accord

Norðurál is one of 103 Icelandic companies who have committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and waste, as well as to providing detailed monitoring and reporting of environmental impacts. All our planning and engineering projects aim to continue the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and minimize environmental impacts. Environmental awareness building among employees is a continuous task, along with our constant fine-tuning of methods and procedures. New investment includes upgrades to control systems to further improve the stability of operations.

Minimizing Impact with Best Practices:

Improved protocols for opening and closing of pot covers
Improved monitoring to reduce risk of voltage swells
Release of dust reduced with good housekeeping
Bonuses partially based on environmental performance

Efficency, Training and Economical Use of Resources

Norðurál's role is to produce pure aluminum in an environmentally responsible manner with minimal environmental impacts. Effort to increase effiency and responsible use of energy and raw materials are a continuous task.

Information gathering in connection with the annual ETS report delivered significant improvements in several key areas, such as maintenance schedules and monitoring of external ventilation systems and diagnostics of the causes of unnecessary dust release in pot rooms.

Detailed analysis of the principal sources of household waste allowed us to significantly increase recycling and limit landfill waste still further. A new contractor was hired to improve waste management off-site. Employees are encouraged to car pool and to make use of free charging stations for electric vehicles.

The year 2018 is dedicated to projects that increase the environmental awareness of our employees. All areas of operations will be critically reviewed and the results publicized internally according to a detailed plan. We are fully convinced that every little counts, and that together we can achieve significant environmental improvements.

The Norðurál School of Industry had an enrollment of 33 students in 2017. 127 students have already graduated, and the school plays a growing role in maintaining and increasing the skills and ambition of our workforce.

Increased Recycling

Norðurál's ongoing programs aim to involve employees in environmentally beneficial projects and to raise awareness on environmental matters. Staff bonuses are partly based on company performance in minimizing negative environmental impacts.

75% of all waste from operations is recycled, and we're close to the theoretical limit set by the present state of technology and methods in aluminum production. One area where we can still improve is in general "household" waste throughout the Company. We have significantly increased sorting of general refuse to increase recycling of leftover food, packaging, office supplies and the like. Access to fast-charging stations for electric cars is free for all staff members and visitors, and various diesel-powered vehicles have been replaced with electric vehicles.

Recycling and Waste: 2017 2016 2015 2014 tonnes Recycling Landfill 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 45,000

Equal Rights and Room to Grow

Norðurál is home to almost 600 employees from all walks of life. We place particular emphasis on good morale and a healthy work environment. Our staff is encouraged to make use of opportunities for continuous education and professional advancement.

Gender Equality

Women and men have equal rights and opportunities at Norðurál and we do not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity or identity. Laws on gender equality are followed to the letter.

Job Opportunities

All available jobs are open to women as well as men. We are still a workplace where men are in a considerable majority, but our goal is to reach the point where no job or role can be viewed as gender specific.

Equal Pay

Wages and benefits at Norðurál are independent of gender. Men and women receive equal compensation for equally valuable contributions to the company. Adherence to our equal pay policy is strictly monitored.

Anti-Harassment Policies

We focus on constructive communication and co-operation at work. We want Norðurál to be a tolerant, open and safe place of work. Sexual harassment and bullying are not tolerated.

Work and Family Life

Norðurál respects the duties of our employees towards their families. All members of staff are actively encouraged to use their full rights to paternal leave.

Male % Female % Age and Gender: Production Maintenance Services Total Avg age 0 25 50 75 100

All Aboard!

Launched in 2018, an extensive Health and Safety program involving all staff members aims to improve company safety culture and increase awareness of key safety issues.

Our slogan – All aboard! – reflects the fact that individual safety is a collective endeavor. We look out for each other and co-operate to identify potential risk and find the safest procedure for every task. Open and honest communication between co-workers is key to making full use of our extensive experience and training.

Nothing is more valuable than the people who come here to work each day and the families they return to. They are the reason we take care of each other and perform our work safely. Teamwork gets us home, every day, because safety is our first priority.

Nothing is more valuable than the people
who come here to work each day
and the families they return to.
They are the reason we take care of each other
and perform our work safely.
Teamwork gets us home, every day,
because safety is our first priority.




Norðurál is an ISO 9001 certified company. Environmental and safety systems are certified according to ISO 14001 and ISO 18001 standards. Production processes and environmental and safety standards are under continuous review.

Norðurál keeps green accounting in accordance with regulation no. 851/2002 and delivers its audited green accounts to the Environment Agency of Iceland before May 1 every year. Emissions accounting is kept in accordance with regulation no. 990/2008. We welcome questions and comments to

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