Iceland - Industry

Fish processing is the most important industry. Facilities for freezing, salting, sun-curing, and reducing to oil or fish meal are flexible enough to allow shifting from one process to another in accordance with demand. By-products include fish meal and codliver oil.

Although Iceland's industry is focused on fish processing, the country in the 21st century needs to diversify its economy, as fish stocks are declining. (Nevertheless, fishing accounted for 12% of GDP in 2001 and 40% of total exports.) The manufacturing of energy-intensive industries, particularly aluminum, are rising. The ISAL aluminum smelter has expanded its capacity, and in 2002, construction of another aluminum smelter was underway. Production exports rose 22% in 2001. Other projects included the construction of a magnesium plant and the enlargement of the ferro alloy plant. Other industry is small-scale and designed to meet local needs. Chief manufactures include fishing equipment, electric stoves and cookers, paints, clothing, soaps, candles, cosmetics, dairy products, confectionery, and beer. Clothing factories are situated in Reykjavík and Akureyri. Icelandic ammonium nitrate needs are more than met by a fertilizer plant at Gufunes with an annual production capacity of 60,000 tons. A cement factory in Akranes with a capacity of 115,000 tons per year supplies most domestic cement requirements; total production in the mid-1990s amounted to 83,100 tons per year. Production of aluminum rose from 40,000 tons in 1970 to 99,300 tons per year in the same period. A ferro-silicon smelter, which began production in 1979, produced some 66,000 tons per year and a diatomite processing plant produced 25,000 tons.

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