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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhstan Aluminum Plant Opens

PAVLODAR, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh metals major Eurasian Natural Resources opened a $900 million aluminum smelter on Wednesday, the country's first, which it expects will hit full capacity of 250,000 tons per year by 2011.

ENRC, with a market capitalization of $13.8 billion, is one of Kazakhstan's largest companies, accounting for about 4 percent of the Central Asian country's gross domestic product.

The official opening of Kazakhstan Aluminum Smelter two years after the first brick was laid is part of the country's efforts to diversify its economy away from oil and gas.

"We are not only producing and selling raw materials. We are turning into a country which makes competitive products," Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said at the smelter's opening ceremony in the northeastern city of Pavlodar.

ENRC, which raised more than $2.7 billion this month floating about 20 percent of its stock in London, says most of the aluminum produced at the smelter will be exported. It has not specified target markets.

Kazakhstan Aluminum Smelter has initial production capacity of 62,500 tons per year. Output is scheduled to rise to 125,000 tons in 2008 and to 250,000 tons per year by 2011.

ENRC's shareholders include copper producer Kazakhmys, which said in a statement on Wednesday that its stake had fallen to 14.6 percent from 18.8 percent after ENRC's IPO.

The Kazakh government's stake was also diluted from its pre-IPO level of 24.8 percent. The rest of the nontraded stock is controlled by metals magnates Alexander Mashkevich, Alijan Ibragimov and Patokh Shodiyev.