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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

RusAl Plans Major Tajik Investments

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Russian Aluminum, Russia's biggest aluminum producer, plans to invest $1.5 billion in hydropower and aluminum projects in Tajikistan in the next decade to take advantage of lower electricity costs.

The Moscow-based company and the Tajik government agreed Tuesday to study construction of the Rogunskaya hydroelectric plant. RusAl is also building an aluminum smelter in southern Tajikistan and would like to take part in any privatization of the TadAz smelter, deputy director general Sergei Annenkov said.

"Tajikistan is a country where we will have major strategic developments for the next 15 years, not only in energy but in aluminum production as well," Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire who controls RusAl, told reporters in Dushanbe.

RusAl plans to invest $7 billion in the next decade to surpass U.S.-based Alcoa as the world's biggest aluminum producer. Demand rose last year, pushing up futures prices by 22 percent to a 10-year high.

Construction has begun on the smelter in Tajikistan, which will produce 200,000 tons of aluminum per year, Annenkov said. The power plant may start production in 2010, with a capacity estimated at 3,600 megawatts, RusAl said. Construction was halted in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and civil war broke out in the Central Asian republic.

Pakistan is interested in buying power from the plant, Tajikistan's energy minister, Dzyrabek Nurmakhmadov, said at the news conference.