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Vice President Kashim Shettima discusses restart of ALSCON with Russian company

Russian aluminium producer Rusal revealed that discussions with the Nigerian government are underway to potentially restart the Alscon smelter in Nigeria.

The smelter had been suspended a decade ago due to financial losses. 

Back in 2012, Alscon managed to produce 22,000 tonnes of aluminium, which accounted for 11% of its yearly production capacity.

However, in early 2013, Rusal halted operations at the plant due to issues related to an unreliable gas supply and declining aluminium prices. 

Vice-President’s statement 

During the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg, Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, held a meeting with Rusal’s management to explore the possibilities of reactivating production at Alscon.  

Reuters reports an official statement from Shettima’s office, where he emphasized the importance of restoring the plant’s operations for the benefit of all.

  • He was quoted saying, “The sooner we get this plant back to production, the better for everyone. We need to walk the talk; the Nigerian people deserve better.” 

About Rusal 

Rusal, known for producing 3.8 million tonnes of aluminium in 2022, confirmed the ongoing discussions. However, they refrained from providing any additional details at this time. 

Rusal currently possesses an 85% ownership stake in Alscon, while the remaining share belongs to the Nigerian government. 

  • A statement from Rusal obtained from the Russian news agency TASS reads, “We confirm that we are holding negotiations with the government of Nigeria on the resumption of Alscon plant operations”  

Backstory 

Vice President Kashim Shettima is currently representing President Tinubu in the ongoing Russia-Africa summit hosted by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.  

While addressing the plenary session of the summit on Friday, the Vice President called on Russian companies to take advantage of the vast potential in Nigeria and think of investing rather than relying on commodity trades.  

  • He said, “In view of the current geopolitical situation, we must begin to think of real-time investment in addition to trading in commodities. We call on Russian companies to take advantage of the vast potentials in Nigeria, being the largest market in Africa to invest in strategic areas and to derive maximum benefits”. 

It is important to note that the Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) was incorporated as a JV between the Nigerian government and two technical partners in 1989 but started operations in 1997.

The company is located in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom state. 

In 2004, it was supposedly privatised to UC Rusal for around $250 million.

However, in 2012, the supreme court ruled that UC Rusal was not the true owner of the company and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) immediately reclaim the company and transfer it to the true owner- BFIG 

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