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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

RusAl Looking Toward China to Expand Aluminum Output

SHANGHAI, China -- Russian Aluminum, or RusAl, the world's second-biggest aluminum producer, said Wednesday it was in talks over joint investments with China, which has emerged as the top producing country of the light metal.

"We were the greatest exporter to China about 1 1/2 years ago. Now it is impossible [to sell aluminum to China]. So we suggested cooperating in the field of aluminum industry," said Mikhail Bulankin, head of RusAl's Beijing office.

Over the past few years, China, the world's No. 2 consumer of aluminum, has expanded its production of the energy-intensive metal at a scorching pace. China became a net exporter, with capacity set to reach 7 million tons per year in 2005 after boosting output 19.3 percent to 3.43 million tons last year.

Bulankin said on the sidelines of a conference in Shanghai that proposals made in March to Chinese companies included joint investment in expansions of existing aluminum plants and construction of new smelters in Siberia.

RusAl plans to raise aluminum output by about 1 million tons over the next few years from 2.5 million tons.

Bulankin said the company hoped China would be involved in about half of RusAl's projected production increase.

"We have much cheaper energy than here in China. We have enough hydro-electricity. There is infrastructure already prepared for such construction," he said. "The costs of production of aluminum could be much lower than the average in the world, the average in China or even the average in Russia at present. So the new smelter will be very profitable."