Rusal plans investment in Guyana-based facilities

Chief Executive Officer of Rusal Evgenii Nikitin this week announced that the Russian aluminium producer has plans to  invest in the upgrade of plants in the Caribbean which will form part of a about 380 billion roubles (US$5.2 billion) spend.

The CEO was responding to questions from media representatives at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum when he made the disclosure. There he also announced that the Rusal plans to complete the division of its assets into two companies in the first half of 2022.

A Rusal aluminium refinery near the Siberian town of Achinsk. (Photo: ILYA NAYMUSHIN/REUTERS)

Within the Caribbean region, Rusal owns 93 per cent of Windalco in Jamaica, which has the capacity to produce 502,000 tonnes of alumina and four million tonnes of bauxite. In Guyana, Rusal also owns 90 per cent of the Berbice-based Aroaima Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. 

The Guyanese operation was once responsible for producing and shipping roughly 1.5 million tonnes to the Rusal-owned Nikolaev refinery in the Ukraine each year, before it was mothballed by Rusal.

The Russian aluminium producer also has licences to develop Linden, Kwakwani and Ituni deposits in Guyana.

A drone shot of Ituni in Guyana (Photo: Facebook @Ituni)

Nikitin disclosed, however, that the company will not increase the production capacity of the plants after their upgrade, but rather maintain the current production volumes.

Rusal said it also expects to launch the main stage of construction of new plants in 2023.

More plans revealed

Rusal is a majority owner of the WINDALCO bauxite plant in St Catherine, Jamaica. (File photo)

The Russian company hopes to attract financing through commercial loans, backed by a guarantee from the state, which guarantees banks a return of funds, as well as part of their own funds, Nikitin said. Basic investments in the modernisation of plants until 2027 will cost 385 billion rubles (US$5.28 billion).

The company gave updates on its ongoing demerger, in which it is being restructured into two companies, one of which, Al+, will remain on Hong Kong Stock Exchange, a second which will hold production assets and might be listed elsewhere.

The company head said  Rusal has no plans to sell any assets during the demerger, adding that the assets division is aimed at implementing the development program of each group of assets as efficiently as possible.