RUSAL interested in Iran, denies talks
The world's largest aluminium producer, UC RUSAL, is interested in expanding in Iran but denied a newspaper report it was in talks to build a 375,000 tonnes per year aluminium smelter there, Reuters reported.
"RUSAL is interested in business development and diversification of its aluminium production geography, aiming to be close to the fastest developing markets," it said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
"The company is constantly examining various opportunities and Iran is one of numerous options for examination. There are no exact plans and the company does not hold any project discussions in this country."
The Kommersant newspaper reported RUSAL was looking at a partnership to build a $1 billion smelter, to consist of two potlines of equal size, and a 650 megawatt power station.
Russia, whose biggest gas firm once withdrew from Iran's energy sector due to tightening international sanctions, built the Islamic state's Bushehr nuclear power plant, which joined the grid earlier this month.
The report follows an agreement between Russia and Iran to jointly develop the Mehdiabad zinc and lead deposit in Iran.
Kommersant said that Iranian authorities and the head of state industrial holding Russian Technologies, Sergei Chemezov, agreed to back RUSAL's talks during a meeting of a Russian-Iranian business cooperation council, where the agreement on zinc mining was also reached.
The talks between RUSAL and the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (IMIDRO) envisages cooperation on production of alumina and industrial mineral nepheline syenite in addition to the construction of the smelter.