Húsavík smelter closed (at least for now)

30.07.2020 - 16:21
Mynd: Gunnlaugur Starri Gylfason / RÚV
The furnace at the PCC ferrosilicon factory at Bakki near Húsavík was turned off yesterday. The plant is therefore officially closed down—at least for the time being. A Romanian father and son who lost their jobs at Bakki told RÚV the future is very uncertain.

Around 80 people were laid off by the company at the end of June and it is not yet known how long the factory will remain closed. Managers first and foremost blame the low global market value of ferrosilicon at the moment. 

The operation of the plant has been tough for some time. A deal was secured in late March with creditors and shareholders to financially restructure. Market conditions were already tough before the coronavirus crisis forced prices down even further. 

It is believed around 40 families moved to Húsavík specifically because of jobs at the factory, including Livio and Bogdan Sulumberchian. 

“We both lost our jobs. My father is in maintenance and I have been working in production. My mother is also here with us. Now we are just all going to go on holiday; go home until another job comes up,” says Bogdan. “After that, if I’m being honest, I don’t know. We’re just going to come back and try to find work so that we can stay here longer. Nobody wants to leave right now.” 

The family rents a house directly from the company, but they hope to be able to keep their home despite the situation. Bogdan nevertheless fears the neighbourhood, which is mostly owned by PCC, will become something of a ghost town in the coming months. 

The video above includes an interview with Bogdan in English. 

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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