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UC RusAl to build $7 bln aluminum plant in Russia

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SARATOV, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian aluminum giant United Company RusAl announced on Tuesday plans to invest around $7 billion in an aluminum plant with annual capacity of over 1 million metric tons in the Saratov Region.

"RusAl's investment in the construction of an aluminum plant in the Saratov Region is estimated at $6-$7 billion," General Director Alexander Bulygin told a news conference.

Earlier on Tuesday, RusAl signed an agreement with the government of the region on the southern part of the Volga area. In addition to building the world's largest aluminum plant, the deal envisions the construction at the Balakovo nuclear power plant of fifth and sixth reactors with overall capacity of 2,000 MW.

The aluminum plant's cost will be determined after its feasibility study is completed, before the end of 2008, a spokesman for UC RusAl said. The project is part of the company's strategy to build its own generating facilities, and enable a 25% rise in output, he said.

UC RusAl, established in March 2007 through a merger of Russian aluminum giants RusAl and SUAL and Swiss Glencore's alumina assets, accounts for 12% and 15% of the global aluminum and alumina markets, respectively.

Saratov Region Governor Pavel Ipatov said the project was still to be coordinated with nuclear regulators, and pledged his support for the talks. He said the aluminum plant and the expansion of the Balakovo NPP would create over 4,000 jobs in the region.

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