Singer Bjork Iceland’s most famous export, joined her fellow countrymen and women last week as part of a three-day karaoke marathon protest against Canadian firm Magma Energy’s growing stake in Iceland’s HS Orka power plant.
Magma Energy is a geothermal exploration power company founded in 2008. It says on its website that it is North America’s second largest primary geothermal power producer and has a portfolio in three key geothermal regions in the world: western USA, Chile and Iceland.
According to the website Savingiceland.org, Magma already owns 46% of the stocks in HS Orka and wants to increase its stake to 98.5%, which would leave only 1.5% of the company in Icelandic hands.
At stake is the maintenance of Iceland’s independence and control over its natural resources as the country is increasingly flooded with foreign investment since its financial meltdown in 2008. HS Orka provides nine per cent of the country’s electricity.
The protest supported by Bjork and named Declare Independence collected 46,000 signatures in a petition, exceeding the minimum requirement of 35,000 required for a referendum. The transaction has already received regulatory approved but a government-appointed committee has not yet presented its report.
The event was held during the Icelandic holiday of Threttandinn which local folklore says is when elves and magical creatures come out to party with humans. Bjork performed Joy Division’s classic song, Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.