bjork-cp-4455474

Bjork, pictured here in 2008, wants to force a referendum on the issue of Magma Energy's takeover of HS Orka. ((Associated Press))

Icelandic singer Bjork is on a three-day karaoke marathon to protest the potential takeover of one of her country's largest geothermal companies by a Canadian firm.

The event, called Voice of the People, is the singer's way of encouraging her countrymen to sign a petition forcing the government to hold a referendum on the sale of HS Orka to Vancouver's Magma Energy.

"We want to give the nation a voice, a chance to reclaim its energy resources," said the popular performer, whose many international hits include Army of Me, It's Oh So Quiet and Possibly Maybe

HS Orka is the third largest power company in the tiny North Atlantic country of 320,000. It would give the Canadian firm the right to use local geothermal fields for 65 years, including an option to extend that right for up to 130 years.

"I had no idea at all that we would be so controversial in Iceland," Magma CEO Ross Beaty told stockhouse.com recently.

Magma set up a holding company in Sweden in order to comply with Icelandic laws concerning ownership by non-European Economic Area firms. A government committee last summer investigated the issue and cleared the sale.

Geothermal energy supplies heating to about 90 per cent of Iceland's households. 

Bjork, who began her marathon on Thursday, finishing off Saturday night, says she wants energy decisions to be "made by the nation, not by a few businessmen behind closed doors."

Her petition has about 28,000 signatures so far. She's hoping to gather 35,000.

Iceland suffered a massive shock when the nation's economy collapsed in 2008. Many residents are opposed to natural resources being privatized.

Beaty had a war of words with the singer last summer after she accused the company of taking advantage of Iceland's weak economy to make a deal. Beaty called her remarks uninformed.

Magma has 140 employees in Vancouver, Chile, Nevada and Iceland.

With files from The Associated Press