DUSHANBE, April 1, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- More than 2 billion U.S. dollars will be needed for implementation of a five-year program for Tajik aluminum smelter’s shift to domestic raw materials, the Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO) representatives announced at a news conference dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the Tajik aluminum plant on April 1.

Upon implementation of the program, the plant is expected to run on domestic raw materials for 60 percent.  Currently, TALCO imports some 90 percent of the necessary raw materials and equipment from abroad.  The company imports the raw material through tolling arrangements.  Annually, TALCO spends more than 250 million U.S. dollars for shipping alumina alone.

The program will be implemented in cooperation with Canada’s engineering company, Hatch, and Tajik specialists will also be enlisted.

The program provides for establishment of Tajik chemical and metallurgical corporation that will group enterprises for producing caustic soda, cryolite, aluminum fluoride and alumina, as well as cement plant and an anthracite-processing enterprise.

TALCO jointly with China National Heavy Machinery Corporation is building two plants in Yovon for producing cryolite and aluminum fluoride.  More than 30 million U.S. dollars have been allocated for this project.

Nasreddin Sirojev, head of the TALCO department for perspective projects, told reporters that the program will create more than 10,000 new jobs.   

One of the key components of the program for Tajik aluminum smelter’s shift to domestic raw materials is construction of a sulfuric acid production plant.  A total cost of the project is 50 million U.S. dollars.  China’s Tianchen Chemical Engineering Corporation (TCC) will build this plant with capacity of production of 100,000 tons of sulfuric acid per year.

The construction of the plant is expected to begin this year.  Under an agreement signed between TALCO and TCC last summer, TALCO will become owner of the plant in eight years after introduction of it into operation.

Sulfuric acid is used in mining (fore example for leaching gold) and TALCO will provide local mining enterprises with sulfuric acid in the future, the TALCO representatives noted.         

According to Sirojev, the program will be implemented in several stages: the first stage includes construction of enterprises for producing cryolite, aluminum fluoride and sulfuric acid; a new chemical plant will be built during the second stage; and the third stage includes construction of cement plant, alumina-producing enterprises and other facilities.

Specialists from TACLO expect the program expenses to be repaid in three years.

Construction of the Tajik aluminum plant (TadAZ) began in 1972, and the first pouring of aluminum took place on March 31, 1975.  On April 3, 2007, TadAZ was officially renamed to TALCO – Tajik Aluminum Company.  TALCO is now one of the ten largest aluminum smelters in the world and provides up to 70% of the country’s foreign currency earnings, consuming some 40% of the country’s electrical power.