Welcome to EP Power Minerals Iceland ehf.

Natural pozzolan from Katla, a carbon-neutral construction material for the future.


The Project:

With the ambitious goal of decarbonizing the cement industry and supplying the construction materials industry with environmentally friendly raw materials, EP Power Minerals has identified a natural pozzolan in Iceland that could make an important contribution to shaping the cement and concrete production of the future. The uniqueness of the material sourced at Hjörleifshöfði has been confirmed by geological experts in various analyses. EP Power Minerals is aiming at long-term and environmentally friendly mining of the natural pozzolan. EP Power Minerals owns the land at Hjörleifshöfði in the Mýrdalshreppur region of southern Iceland, where the mine is situated in a remote location, several kilometers off the ring road.

Building on the long-term relationship of trust and cooperation between EP Power Minerals and its Icelandic partners, which is already in place, the project is to be developed in close cooperation with local companies and authorities. In this way, economic benefits for the Vík í Mýrdal region and its population can be generated at the same time, and the possibility of using natural resources to decarbonize industries in the interests of the climate can be further developed.


The first samples of material were taken by a team from EP Power Minerals in Iceland in April 2019 and chemical and geological analyses of the material’s composition were conducted. The results were promising and a project team composed of experts in all the required fields was assembled to conduct a feasibility study on the long-term use of natural pozzolan from Katla. 

As part of the feasibility study, comprehensive analyses of the natural pozzolan were carried out by the Technical University of Munich and the EP Power Minerals construction materials laboratory. These showed that the material has almost identical technical properties to hard coal fly ash and, as an additive for the cement industry, meets all the requirements of DIN EN 197-1. The material can also be an alternative for the fields of application served by EP Power Minerals in the concrete industry. The deposit’s volume and homogeneity was calculated by Prof. Peter Kukla from the geological institute of RWTH Aachen University. The geological study further confirms that no comparable resource exists in Europe.

In a logistics concept study drawn up by EFLA Consulting Engineers the local mining conditions, the accessibility of the mine, the necessary infrastructure, the mining and extraction process and different transport methods were investigated and evaluated.

Icelandic consultants in the fields of legal, accounting, tax, real estate and logistics have been involved in the preparation of the feasibility study.

EP Power Minerals incorporated the Icelandic entity EP Power Minerals Iceland ehf. in November 2020 and became owner of the Hjörleifshöfði property in the Mýrdalssandur region in Southern Iceland, where the natural pozzolan deposit is located.

Together with EFLA Consulting Engineers, EP Power Minerals completed and environmental impact assessment study (EIA) for the mining and export of natural pozzolan. Logistics options are being evaluated in close cooperation with the Iceland Road and Harbour administration.

Dating the start of mining depends on several factors. EP Power Minerals is cooperating closely with the major stakeholders of the project and can respond to society’s interests and needs.

Natural Pozzolan

The volcanic slag from Katla is often referred to as a basalt, pumice, or a magmatic or pyrogenic rock. From our perspective, the most applicable designation would be a ‘natural pozzolan’.

Pozzolans are natural or synthetic compounds of silica, alumina, limestone, iron oxide and alkaline substances, mostly formed under the influence of heat. In combination with calcium hydroxide and water, they are cohesive. Based on its chemical and mineralogical composition and the construction industry requirements (DIN EN 197-1), the volcanic slag from Katla meets the criteria for classification as ‘natural pozzolan’.

The name ‘pozzolan’ comes from the Italian town Pozzuoli, west of Naples and close to the volcano Vesuvius, where large quantities of pozzolanic volcanic ash were extracted in ancient times.

Pozzolanic ash was already used in ancient Rome as an admixture to clays for the production of ceramics, mainly for improving the strength of the end product. In addition, pozzolanic clay was used as an admixture for Roman concrete (Latin: ”opus caementicium”) and by the Phoenicians. The most famous historical sites that display the use of opus caementicium are large parts (foundation, vaults and upper inner walls) of the Colosseum in Rome and the dome of the Pantheon in Rome (approx. 120 AD). Pozzolanic earth was even used by Michelangelo in his plaster for the decoration of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.


Materials like the Mýrdalssandur natural pozzolan will play a key role in achieving the new environmental goals.

Reduction of carbon footprint

EP Power Minerals has been supplying carbon-neutral additives to the construction materials industry for decades. By doing so, EP Power Minerals has solved problems for two industries: the efficient removal of fly ash as a by-product from coal-fired power plants in the energy sector, and the establishment of a stable and green supply of additives to the construction materials industry (mainly cement & concrete). EP Power Minerals is facing a decline in the operations of coal-fired power plants and the supply of materials from that source cannot be ensured in the long term. Therefore, EP Power Minerals has invested in research into alternative materials in order to continue the decarbonization of industries. The research led to Iceland, and natural pozzolan from Iceland has been identified as a feasible solution. The natural pozzolan is a pyroclastic volcanic slag resulting from eruptions of the Katla volcano, predominantly from the 1918 eruption.

Environmental benefits will accrue when natural pozzolan is used as an additive in cement production at EP Power Minerals’ customers. The cement industry is under considerable pressure to reduce CO2 emissions in its production processes. With the replacement of cement clinker in the production processes and the accompanying significant reduction of carbon emissions, the effects on the environment are immediate. Materials like the Mýrdalssandur natural pozzolan will play a key role in achieving the new environmental goals.


The Area

EP Power Minerals and EP Power Minerals Iceland ehf. are aware of the historical and cultural importance of the Hjörleifshöfði land for the Icelandic society. Accordingly, in addition to the careful mining of the natural pozzolan and the development of sustainable logistics strategies, the development of the area as an attractive venue for the local population and tourists from abroad is being planned by partners of the project. Protection of the Icelandic cultural heritage and the unique natural environment is of particular importance.

Building on the long-term relationship of trust and cooperation between EP Power Minerals and its Icelandic partners, which is already in place, the project is to be developed in close cooperation with local companies and authorities. In this way, economic benefits for the Vík í Mýrdal region and its population can be generated at the same time, and the possibility of using natural resources to decarbonize industries in the interests of the climate can be further developed.

Moreover, EP Power Minerals sees potential to develop the infrastructure of the land to enable everyone to learn about the cultural heritage of Hjörleifshöfði. In this way the infrastructure of the region can be strengthened, new opportunities to learn about Iceland’s history can be created and access to the Kötlujökull region improved. Local businesses in the region of Vík can also benefit directly or indirectly from the sustainable utilization of natural pozzolan, and the diversification of industries may lead to even more economic stability.


The land itself is approx. 115 km² in area, with the mining deposit covering an area of 15.5 km². The volume is estimated to be at least 100 million metric tons. The deposit is just east of Hafursey mountain. Hjörleifshöfði and Hafursey will not be affected by mining activities, as only the loose material at the mining site will be handled. There will be no underground mining except from permitted areas. 

The idea of mining natural pozzolan in this area is certainly not new, and the mining area has been part of the Mýrdalshreppur municipality’s master plan for around 20 years. Exporting natural pozzolan also features in the Agenda 21 plan for Mýrdalshreppur from the year 2009. In 2002 an environmental impact assessment was carried out and that process ended with a verdict by the Icelandic Planning Agency that permitted the mining. Because the requirements for environmental impact assessments have changed and mining has not been carried out in the region since then, EP Power Minerals – together with EFLA Consulting Engineers – has completed a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) study.

According to the Registry of Sites of Natural Interest, there are no natural conservation areas at the site. EP Power Minerals has verified this by consulting the registry, the available maps from the National Environmental Agency and the general zoning plan.

The quarry is defined as a mining site in the general zoning plan. The National Planning Agency has already approved mining plans for different purposes in the past. The land is not inhabited.

EP Power Minerals has a long history of activities abroad and is aware of its social responsibility.


The intended mining process is basically simple: payloaders load natural pozzolan onto trucks or conveyors which transport the material to a harbor, where the material is transferred to ships. This method has been practiced here in Iceland for several decades, and it is estimated that many million cubic meters of sand or basalt have already been exported to Europe. 

A maximum of 10 meters will be taken from the top of the natural pozzolan layer, which rests on the surface of the sand. The excavation area will then be recultivated at a later date. The natural pozzolan layer in Mýrdalssandur to the east and southeast of Hafursey will suffice for at least 100 years of mining. Only a small part of the total mining area will be processed at a time.

In a feasibility study, EP Power Minerals is currently examining whether there are alternatives to the previously planned truck transport via the ring road (Route 1) to the harbor in Þorlákshöfn. To make transport as climate-friendly as possible, alternative fuel concepts such as hydrogen-powered vehicles are currently under review and will be considered in optimizing the supply chain. 

The company plans not only to mine the natural pozzolan carefully and to develop sustainable logistics systems, but also to develop the land as an attractive destination for the local population and for tourists. Mýrdalssandur ehf. is interested in developing a long-term, trusting cooperation which at the same time will bring economic benefits (in terms of employment, tax, infrastructure and tourism) to the region of Vik í Mýrdal, its population and its businesses. The project as a whole is intended to make a local contribution to the diversification of the regional economy.

It is estimated that the mining and associated activities will create a large number of jobs for skilled employees when maximum capacity has been reached. Additional jobs can be expected: local workshops will for instance be asked to perform servicing of machinery and equipment. These jobs are not dependent on seasonal variations like the tourism industry, fishing and farming, which have been the mainstays of the work available locally in recent years.

Furthermore, jobs may be created in highly qualified fields of planning and engineering for specialized mining equipment and supply chain management. Financial advice will be needed in relation to all the administrative functions. With regard to the continuous development and optimization of the work to be performed, EP Power Minerals is open to innovative or alternative methods at all points along the supply chain. 

In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, where the fight against climate change is becoming more and more important, the planned natural pozzolan mining could also become a showcase project for tourism of which the Icelandic people can be proud.

About EP Power Minerals

For decades, EP Power Minerals has been the European expertise leader in the supply of fly ash, which is a by-product of coal-fired power generation, to the construction materials industry. For many years, this industrial fly ash has been making an important contribution to reducing the clinker factor in cement production and at the same time improving the carbon footprint of the cement. However, the availability of industrial fly ash will decrease as hard coal fired power plants in Europe are shut down in the next few years. Therefore, EP Power Minerals has investigated options for securing continued supplies to the European and transatlantic cement industry for many years, and identified the natural pozzolan back in 2019. EP Power Minerals is part of Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH), a leading Central European energy group based in the Czech Republic.