Sunday, April 23, 2006

Protesters say environment will suffer from Alcoa smelter

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP)

About 200 people marched through a park in the Trinidad capital to protest Alcoa Inc's proposed US$1.5 billion (euro1.2 billion) aluminum smelter, saying it will harm the environment and the twin-island's neighbours.

The smelter, planned for Cap-de-Ville in southwest Trinidad, would produce 341,000 metric tons (375,888 tons) a year of aluminum.

It is one of at least three major industrial projects proposed in recent years in Trinidad and Tobago.

"If we end up with just an industrialised island where you can't eat the food or breathe the air whe re will we be then?" Petra Bridgemohan, a spokeswoman for an anti-smelter group, said Friday.

Trinidad's government has also partnered with Venezuelan company Sural to build a smaller aluminum smelter plant and aluminum parts factory in the country's south and US-based Westlake Chemical has said it intends to build a petrochemical plant in Trinidad.

The projects still need approval from government regulators.
Manning has said the Alcoa smelter will be environmentally safe and will boost the economy.

Trinidad is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean, relying on oil and gas for more than 25 per cent of gross domestic product.


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