The world’s second-biggest aluminum producer, Rusal, has doubled the capacity of its smelting plant in Boguchansk in Siberia, to 298,000 tons a year, the company said after launching the upgraded smelter, according to Business Recorder.
The move, which is part of a bigger project by Rusal, comes two months after the U.S. Treasury Department lifted sanctions on the aluminum giant, imposed last April. Rusal is now seeking to restore sales contracts to pre-sanctions levels.
“This is a complex big project that has a difficult and very long history,” Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told a ceremony in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.
“It is very important that the Boguchansk aluminum smelter – one of the flagships of the aluminum industry – is being launched today,” he said.
Rusal and its partner, Russian power company Rushydro, said on Friday they had invested a total of $1.6 billion to achieve a capacity of 298,000 tonnes a year.
Rusal produces about 3.8 million tons of aluminum a year and plans to keep its output flat in 2019.
This week, the company said it is being audited by a firm hired by the U.S. Treasury Department over its compliance with a deal with Washington, under which Rusal’s owner, billionaire Oleg Deripaska, is supposed to cede control of the company.