Friday, 1 January 2010

Rusal to open Nigeria metal plant

Russia Aluminium (Rusal), the world's largest aluminium producer, plans to reopen a former state-owned smelting plant in Nigeria in January.
The Alscon smelter based in south-eastern Nigeria, was built for $2.5bn (£1,2bn) in 1997 and has been closed for almost many years.
It had a capacity of 193,000 tonnes a year, but produced just 40,000 tonnes before its closure in 1999.
Rusal bought a 77.5% stake in Alscon for $250m (£119m) in February
The privatisation process took two years, and Nigeria now owns a minor stake of 15% in the plant.
Rusal said in February it was going to spend $150m over three years to complete and modernise the plant.
Alexandr Livshits, Rusal's director of international special projects, said most of the plant has already been upgraded but refused to say how much had been spent so far.
"Right now, we are modernising the equipment," he said.
"We will start the plant in January and increase production step by step until we reach full capacity," he explained.
Postponed reopening
Last June six Russians who were working at the plant were kidnapped by gunmen and their Nigerian driver was shot dead.
The four men and two women were freed unharmed two months later.
The kidnapping was one of the reasons the plant's reopening was postponed from December to January.
A dispute over the dredging of the Imo river also caused delays as the local community feared that it could affect fishing that is vital to the area's economy.

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