April 27, 2007
A Bechtel team building a new aluminum smelter on the remote eastern coast of Iceland has won the nation’s highest environmental award.
Iceland Honors Bechtel for Environmental Excellence
The Conch (Shell) Award, given annually by Iceland’s Ministry of Environment, honors companies that contribute to environmental protection and that motivate other companies to focus on the environment. The award was presented to Bechtel at a ceremony in Reykjavik.
“Everyone familiar with Bechtel’s vision on environmental affairs believes that it has led to a new work culture in Iceland,” Minister of Environment Jónína Bjartmarz said in announcing the award.
Bechtel and its customer, Alcoa, have placed a heavy emphasis on environmental protection in the construction of the Fjarðaál smelter, which is scheduled for completion later this year. The project has been designed for minimal environmental impact specifically in waste disposal. No process water is discharged into the nearby fjord. Paper, glass, metals, timber, plastic, and other byproducts are recycled or reused, and biodegradable waste is safely decomposed.
“Bechtel has become an influential role model for other construction companies and contractors in Iceland regarding environmental protection,” said Bjartmarz. “Hopefully, this award will underscore the level of success Bechtel has reached and other contractors can reach as well, if they adopt the work plan this company has shown us.”
“Environmental sensitivity is a growing mandate for our industry worldwide,” said Bechtel Project Manager Joe Wahba. “It is thus especially gratifying that the Fjarðaál project has been awarded this prize.”
The new smelter, which will have an annual capacity of 346,000 metric tons, is the first project in Iceland for Bechtel. The company, a global leader in engineering and construction, has worked on some of the world’s largest and complex projects for more than a century. Bechtel currently has projects in nearly 50 countries, including several aluminum smelters.