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Hydro Appeals More Stringent Air Emissions Restrictions for Søderberg Facility

Hydro has appealed the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority's decision for more stringent air emissions restrictions at the Søderberg facility on Karmøy, effective November 2007. Hydro wants to operate the plant with present emissions control limits until the Søderberg facility's planned shut down in 2009.

Hydro applied to the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) in June 2006 for an adjustment to emissions limits at the Søderberg plant that were set to go into effect January 2007. The SFT has not formally accepted Hydro’s application, but has postponed implementation of the new emissions restrictions by 10 months, until October 2007.

The new emissions restrictions set specific demands, respectively, on prebake and Søderberg technology. Until the new limits become effective, emissions from the electrolyser facility are calculated collectively.

Collective emissions from the metal plant at Karmøy are comparable with the finest modern aluminium production facilities in the EU and when seen as a whole, fall under the new SFT limits. Hydro believes this is a good reason to allow continued operation of the Søderberg facility until its planned shut down at the end of 2009.

The SFT’s new demand will lead to a more rapid shut down. That would present huge challenges to Karmøy’s 600 employees and the local community. Hydro's recently established Industrial Park at Karmøy is working hard to attract external companies to establish themselves there.

Hydro is also evaluating the possibility of investing in a new potline at Karmøy. This is dependent on whether good conditions are offered, first and foremost, access to electricity based on long-term contracts at competitive prices.

Hydro at Karmøy is in a position to meet new emissions demands in all areas except for dust and PAH16 (polyaromatic hydrocarbons). Dust emissions are mainly aluminium oxide with little environmental impact. SFT’s emissions demands for PAH16 is a Norwegian rule that doesn’t correspond to international regulations and/or conventions, such as IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) or OSPAR (Oslo-Paris Commission). OSPAR restricts emissions of PAH component BaP. Karmøy’s present emissions are about half of what OSPAR recommends.

The Søderberg lines isolated do not meet OSPAR dust emissions recommendations, but the whole plant falls under OSPAR guidelines. Hydro believes total collective dust emissions demands should be changed in October 2007, and that the resulting environmental impact is so minimal that it supports the company’s argument for permission to continue operating through 2009.

The application sent to SFT in June 2006 by Hydro Aluminium Karmøy was written based on the operational conditions in 2005. Karmøy Søderberg has improved its operational situation, which has had a positive effect on PAH emissions into the air. Meanwhile, the Søderberg plant has not managed to substantially cut its dust emissions despite the fact operations have greatly improved since the application was submitted.

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