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Rusal, one of the world’s leading aluminium producers, and Eurasian Financial & Industrial Company, have signed a memorandum creating Eurasian Aluminium Company, a jointly-established company which will build a new 500,000 tonne smelter and 1.5mn tonne alumina refinery in Kazakhstan.

The Eurasian Aluminium Company, in which Rusal and the Eurasian Financial & Industrial Company will be equal shareholders, is to be registered in Kazakhstan.

Commenting on the event, Alexander Machkevitch, who signed the memorandum on behalf of the Eurasian Financial & Industrial Company, said: “This is an important development for Kazakhstan, as this is creation of a world-class company employing about 9,000 people and opening up the world market for Kazakhstan. In alliance with Rusal, one of the leaders of the aluminium industry, the development will help fuel the Kazakhstan economy. We hope Rusal will be followed by other Russian companies that will create joint ventures in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy.”

Rusal CEO Alexander Bulygin said, “Rusal is pleased that a project of such scale will be realized in cooperation with a partner in a former USSR republic, which shows that cooperation within the CIS is growing. The project is another important step in Rusal’s major expansion programme both in the smelting and refining businesses. For Kazakhstan it means attracting investments, development of related industries and GDP growth.”

The first phase of the smelter with 250,000 tonnes of aluminium smelting capacity is scheduled to start not later than 1½ years after company registration and is to be completed within 3½ years. After the first phase is completed a second phase of similar capacity will be launched. It is to be completed within two years from the moment of the first phase commissioning. The 1.5mn ton alumina refinery is to be built within six years from initial construction date.

The project will require about US$3bn in investment. It is expected that approximately US$1bn will be paid to local contactors in Kazakhstan.

Rusal, a world leader in aluminium production was formed in March 2000 from the merger of a number of the largest smelters and other aluminium producers located in the CIS. The company accounts for 75% of Russia’s primary aluminium output and 10% of the global primary aluminium output. Rusal is a fully vertically integrated company with a complete production cycle from bauxite mining and the production of raw materials, to the production of primary metal, semi-products and aluminium-based end products. The firm is headquartered in Moscow.

The Eurasian Financial & Industrial Company was created in 1994. The company owns a number of mining and energy companies in Kazakhstan. It also includes Eurasian Bank – one of the largest Kazakh banks. The Eurasian Financial & Industrial Company is a part of Eurasian Industrial Association which in its turn encompasses Kazakhstan’s largest enterprises such as Kazchrome Transnational Company, Aluminium of Kazakhstan, Sokolovsko-Sarbay Mining & Production Unit, Eurasian Energy Corporation and so on.