Azerbaijani-Russian bentonite clay plant enters new markets

Business Materials 11 July 2009 20:38 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 11 / Trend , N.Ismayilova/

The Azerbaijani-Russian joint venture AzRosPromInvest's plant producing and processing bentonite clay from the Dash Salahli field in the Gazakh region has launched talks to enter new markets, the Chairman of the JV Board of Directors Natig Shirinzadeh said.

"At present the plant's products are exported only to Russia, but we have already started the negotiations and are going to enter other markets," Shirinzadeh said.

He said the plant is actively working with Lebedin and Mikhailov mining and enrichment plants.

"Entering of the plant's products the Iraqi markets has been coordinated with Russia and the talks are being held with the Iraqi government at the moment. Iran is also an interesting market for the JV. Although Kazakhstan also produces bentonite powder, the plant is going to enter this market, as well, because our products are competitive," said Shirinzadeh.

Due to the global financial crisis that affected the Russian market, which is the main market for the JV products, the plant sold only 10 percent (three thousand tons) from the previously planned. The main purpose of the JV is to reach the bentonite powder export to 6-7 tons per month in Russia.

The plant was completely built and launched its activity early 2009, allowing the JV to gain the profit in six months.

Production capacity of the plant is 250,000 tons of the mechanically activated bentonite clay a year, of which 100,000 falls to processing of bentonite powder.

A total of $24 million compared to the initially projected $12 million will be spent to implement the project of bentonite clay production and processing from the Dash Salahli field in the Gazakh region. This amount has equally divided amongst the founders. Previously, Azerbaijan had to spend $6 million as real estate under the territory of the plant, while Russia had to invest $12.5 million in cash. So far, some $18 million has been already invested.

The territory of the JV is 345 hectares, whose 180 hectares of lands are under the field.

The term of the contract for the joint project has been revised and prolonged to 50 years from previously planned 25 years.

The reserves of the Dash Salahli field are 83 million tons.

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