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02/07/08

Kazakhstan plans new aluminium, steel plants


Kazakhstan plans to build a new aluminum smelter and, separately, a $1.2 billion steel plant, senior industry officials said on Wednesday.

Category: General
Posted by: admin

Kazakhstan operates one aluminium smelter, launched in December last year, as well as a steel plant run by Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel maker.

Industry and Trade Minister Galym Orazbakov told an industry meeting that Kazakhstan wanted to attract foreign investment for the aluminium project. He said its start was slated for 2008-2009 but did not say how much it would cost.

"It's too early to talk about it (cost)," he later told reporters, adding that it would be built in the bauxite-rich region of Kostanai in the north of the Central Asia state.

"We have discussed it with investors from the Arab world, they have shown interest in the project," he added without elaborating.

Metals major Eurasian Natural Resources Corp ENRC.L opened a $900 million aluminium smelter - the country's first - in December. It is expected to reach full capacity of 250,000 tones a year by 2011.

Separately, the Sokolov-Sarbai Mining and Production Union, which is part of the ENRC, said it would invest $1.2 billion to build a new steel products plant in Kazakhstan.

Vladimir Shcherba, Sokolov's vice-president, told Reuters its construction was likely to start as soon as at the end of this year but did not say where.