SFT extends permission to operate Søderberg line in Årdal

October 10, 2006, 10:00 CEST

The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) has granted a dispensation to operate the Søderberg Å3 line at Hydro's aluminium plant in Årdal until October 1, 2007. Hydro expects to shut down the production line by the end of the first half of 2007.

The Søderberg Å3 line at Hydro's aluminium plant in Årdal previously had permission from SFT to operate through 2006. The extension from SFT gives Hydro time to carry out necessary adjustments, and the company now expects to close down the Søderberg line by the end of June. This accommodates the start up of new businesses in Årdal that are establishing themselves as a result of initiatives from Årdal Municipality and Hydro. The first companies to start up are Dooria and Norsun.

Hydro ensures continued proper operation of the Årdal plant, as well as the safe shut down of the Søderberg production line. The line is being closed down because the technology no longer satisfies environmental demands for emissions.

After the shut down of the Søderberg line, Hydro will continue to produce aluimnium in the two existing prebake lines at Årdal. The production primary aluminium in Årdal will be about 180,000 tonnes per year and will employ some 800 people. This includes 60 employees in Hydro's research center for aluminium, which is based in Årdal. Hydro recently decided to invest an additional NOK 200 million into the research center.