POST Online Media Lite Edition


Norsk Hydro apologizes for spills in Brazil

Staff Writer |
Norsk Hydro has revealed more cases of spills from its aluminum plant in Brazil, and apologized for what may have fouled the water supply for those living nearby.

Article continues below

The company faces fines and regulatory restrictions at its Alunorte plant, along with questions and criticism at home in Norway.

“We have discharged untreated rain- and surface water into the Pará River,” Hydro’s chief executive Svein Richard Brandtzæg stated in a press release issued early Monday. “This is completely unacceptable and in breach (of) what Hydro stands for.

“On behalf of the company,” Brandtzæg continued, “I personally apologize to the communities, authorities and the society.” The hard-pressed CEO has earlier referred to the problems in Brazil as the most serious he’s faced during his years at the company.

Hydro also announced that it was expanding its “ongoing independent review of Alunorte” by a Brazilian environmental consulting firm (SGW Services), “to include all interfaces with areas adjacent to the refinery operation.”

Alunorte ranks as the world’s largest aluminum refinery, and employs 2,000 people in the Barcarena region of Pará, in northern Brazil. It extracts bauxite from mines in the area for use in aluminum, but its production has also been cut in half under orders from a local court handling complaints about its operations.

The current problems began after heavy rains in mid-February that led to flooding and spills in the area.

Hydro reported that it was served with an “infraction notice” from local environmental authorities last week, relating to an “unlicensed connection between the Alunorte refinery and a licensed drainage canal from the adjacent Albras aluminum plant, leading to discharge of untreated rainwater from the roof of the coal storage shed at Alunorte into the Pará River through this internatal canal.”

Alunorte’s license requires all rain and surface water from the refinery to be led into its water treatment system. Tests revealed that “the water instead flowed into the canal stemming from Albras,” independently of the extreme rainfall experienced in February.

Spills confirmed by Hydro have set off concerns and anger among environmental activists and the local population, whose drinking water is believed to have been contaminated by the spills. Others are worried about the economic effects of the problems and whether it will lead to a loss of jobs in the area.

Brandtzæg told reporters in Norway last week that the company realizes it “needs to rebuild confidence” in the community, by “changing our attitudes, actions and how we cooperate with our neighbours” in Brazil.

Things turned dramatic last week when news broke that a local environmental activist who has criticized Hydro over the years was found shot to death, the lastest in a string of murders in recent years of people promoting the interests of indigenous people and the environment.

A Hydro spokesman condemned the killing and told Oslo newspaper Aftenposten that the “company’s thoughts go to the murder victim’s friends and family.” There was no immediate evidence that the murder was directly tied to Hydro’s recent troubles in the area.

The company earlier has been accused of arrogance and initially denying responsibility for the spills. Brazilian prosecutor Ricardo Negrini told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) last week that Hydro has been “unclear” and tried to minimize the effects of leaks and discharge from its plant.

He’s been negotiating with Hydro on what must be done in order for production to resume in full.

Kristian Hoelscher, a senior researher at the Oslo peace research insitute PRIO, wrote in a commentary in DN over the weekend that as Hydro’s profitable operations at Alunorte “collapse,” the company must move from being “defensive and reactionary” to acknowledging how it can and may already have damaged the environment in the local community.

“It’s legally sensible not to admit guilt,” Hoelscher wrote, “but the damage to the company’s reputation can cost much more.”

He claimed Hydro had “lost control” over the situation through the company’s “arrogance” and “catastrophic communications strategy.”

Company spokespersons, on the other hand, have stressed a need for openness and been quick to issue statements and press releases on the problems in Brazil.

Brandtzæg himself flew to the area shortly after news of the problems broke late last month.

What to read next

Norsk Hydro accused of pollution in Brazil
Norsk Hydro's acquisition of Orkla's 50% ownership in Sapa completed
Hydro in long-term power contract for Neuss aluminium plant in Germany

U.S.: Locally heavy snow and rain in some spots

There is a heavy rain threat with isolated flash flooding over the next few days across a large portion of the nation from the Southern Appalachians/Tennessee Valley region, west southwestward into the Lower Mississippi Valley.


New York: Five transformational projects in Rochester
U.S. preliminarily finds some companies circumventing solar tariffs
Norwegian seafood exports in November increased
Germany: InvestEU - EIB invests in PBT’s eco-friendly battery material production


Arctic blast set to freeze Britain as temperatures plunge to -8C

Poland: CBA detained two more persons in financial pyramid case
Flight from Poland diverted to Prague after possible bomb threat
Spain dismantles criminal organization dedicated to "CEO fraud" that operated nationally and internationally
UK rail dispute continues, union rejects latest offer from employers
South Africa: AFU seizes $2 million in assets held by corruption accused


Switzerland watchdog investigates labour market in banking sector

EU’s embargo on Russian oil shipments, price cap mechanism come into force
Worldwide PC shipments declined 19.5% in third quarter of 2022
Highlights: November 28, 2022 - December 2, 2022
Air pollution hurts Bangladesh GDP and health
Iran begins procedures to build Darkhovin Nuclear Plant

Trending Now

Asuncion, Mother of Cities and Paraguay’s center of culture, music and shopping

U.S.: Locally heavy snow and rain in some spots

New York: Five transformational projects in Rochester

Norwegian seafood exports in November increased


Commission opens in-depth investigation into Lithuanian measure to compensate Litgas for operation of LNG terminal

Indonesia plans to build nuclear power plant
€13.5 billion French scheme to compensate energy-intensive companies for indirect emission costs
UK: Business Secretary launches review to prevent small firms from being ripped off by larger companies
UK government could bring in military to ease strike action, Sunak may prepare new ban on strike
Moscow will not accept price cap on Russian oil

Today We Recommend

Trafigura enters $3 bln loan to supply Germany's Sefe with gas


Iran’s shrimp exports to Russia up by 350% this year

Global food prices overall hold steady in November

Essar plans $4.9 bln petrochemical complex in Odisha


Currys: Amazon uses UK infrastructure while not paying enough tax

New Zealand mulls law to make Google, Meta pay for news content
John Lewis Partnership to build 1,000 rental homes
Trafigura enters $3 bln loan to supply Germany's Sefe with gas
New Zealand fines sunscreen company for claims that could not be backed up
ALDI can acquire Altmühltaler Mineralbrunnen, Schwarz Group can take over Erfurter Teigwaren


Boeing appoints Brendan Nelson as Boeing International

Totally appoints John McMullan as medical director
Derby Building Products promotes Michael Morris to SVP
Former UK CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli to join Keystone
US Foods appoints Dave Flitman as CEO
G Mining Ventures appoints Carlos Vilhena to board


CBI severely downgrades UK growth forecast

Japan services PMI continued to expand in November
Italy: GDP growth loses momentum in Q3
Indonesia: Inflation declines to lowest level since August in November
Australia retail sales contract in October
Cyprus' GDP growth estimated at 5.4 pct in Q3


Genesco Q3 2023 GAAP earnings $1.66

Kirkland's Q3 sales $131.0 million
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Q1 2023 revenue $839.5 million
Malvern Bancorp Q4 net income $2.6 million
Big Lots Q3 loss $4.33 million
Kroger Q3 profit decreases


Micromanaging is the worst enemy of efficiency and teamwork

Niger set to monetize massive gas reserves through Saharan natural gas pipeline
Putting the brakes on EV folly that choked the market
Oil discovery in Kavango Basin may mean huge benefits for Namibians
Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa's energy future
Is America going to lose its superpower status?


Iran’s shrimp exports to Russia up by 350% this year

High pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in Columbia County, Oregon
Sanitary certificate to export bovine meat from Argentina agreed with Mexico
Czech Republic detects first African swine fever case in 5 years
Dutch cattle herd size barely changed in 2022
Global food prices overall hold steady in November


Only 32% of employees believe their pay is fair

Corporate duty waivers limit organic company growth and innovation
Women buy from women, men buy from women and men
How employee opinion impacts CEO dismissal
Keeping it in family can be good news when it comes to CEOs
Over a third of office workers are hybrid 'misfits'


Glencore to pay Republic of Congo $180 mln over alleged corruption claims

Fraudsters target water infrastructure projects, OLAF closes several cases
Rhode Island man to pay more than $2.8 million in restitution for virtual currency fraud
Switzerland fines ABB $4.3 mn over South Africa bribery
New Mexico AG announces $58.5 million opioid settlement with Smith’s Food and drug parent Kroger
Florida AG announces multistate action against CarMax over the disclosure of safety recalls



All aboard the Heathrow Festive Express

Asuncion, Mother of Cities and Paraguay’s center of culture, music and shopping
"Pets with Love" Dog Adoption Carnival 2022 to be held in Hong Kong
Weather-resistant ArtWalk Downtown Billings, Montana
Dual branded Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel opens in Montreal
Candlewood Suites Hotel opens in Aberdeen, Md.


Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, first super sports car for any terrain

New colorful Porsche 718 Style Edition models
2023 Toyota Prius Prime, solar panel roof and reliability
Volvo EX90, a car with updates
Cessna Citation CJ4 Gen2 jet, pursue your business goals while enjoying journey
GMC first Sierra EV marks turning point


Patchwork carpets, vintage Persian carpets made with unparalleled skill

Real life wallpapers, perfectly executed
A. Lange & Söhne, men's watches with true Saxonian DNA
Nella Vetrina, luxurious Italian designers bathroom vanities and furniture
Karastan rugs, durable and beautiful
Leather bags for every occasion and every life style


ASUS launches ExpertBook B9 for executives

Take Elektor Fortissimo and make your own high-end amplifier
RangeXTD, a Wi-Fi extender that actually works
Monitor II A.N.C. headphones, iconic Marshall sound
Zebra TC15, a clever mix of a mobile phone and a computer for business use
Bathroom speakers will make your relaxing even better


Cornwall first area in England to trial NHS Digital Health Check

Huge rise of scarlet fever cases in UK, 6 kids dead of Strep A
Neglecting COVID this year created perfect conditions for deadly new variant
EMA recommends withdrawal of pholcodine medicines from EU market
Nearly 200 sick in EU and UK Salmonella outbreak
FDA bans Eli Lilly, Regeneron antibody use in COVID-19 patients infected by omicron


James Webb telescope produces an unparalleled view of the ghostly light in galaxy clusters

China's two meteorological satellites put into operation
Lagoon dries up as drought grips Peru
Mysteriously bright flash is black hole jet pointing straight toward Earth
Researchers discover Egypt's oldest tomb oriented to winter solstice
China's latest manned space mission blasts off