Tajikistan, the former Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, is a landlocked mountainous state in Central Asia with 8 million inhabitants. In the Soviet times, Tajikistan’s economy was primarily agricultural, with a specialization in cotton. After the Second World War, Tajikistan experienced a substantial growth in the industrial sector. In the 1980s, processing of non-ferrous metals and hydroelectric energy production developed rapidly. When the Soviet Union dissolved, Tajikistan’s economy immensely suffered as a result of the break-up of economic ties between the Soviet republics and the civil war in 1992 – 1997. At present, Tajikistan’s economy is particularly dependent on the exports of aluminum and cotton. The Tajik Aluminum Company is the largest aluminum manufacturing plant in Central Asia. TALCO does not mine aluminum on its own but imports raw materials .
Tajik Aluminium Company (TALCO) established in 1972 located its headquarter in Tursunzoda town has been producing its products since 1975. The location of the plant is far from the capital of Tajikistan and it borders with some regions of neighbor country, Uzbekistan. Since the country has no aluminum ore it has to import it from abroad. In 2010 it was reported  that " TALCO is the biggest enterprise in the republic that provides significant transfers to the state budget; the suspension of plant’s operations will cause serious economic damage to Tajikistan. The expert believes that the erection of Rogun dam will help Tajikistan increase the production of aluminum that will result in more intense environmental pollution. On the other hand, the major reason of Tashkent’s discontent with the Rogun is that Tajik government will be able to regulate the downstream water and, therefore, affect agricultural industry of Uzbekistan. " The crucial Rogun dam would give electricity to TALCO. By 2018, the new president of Uzbekistan had improved relations with Tajikistan - aluminium ores were imported without difficulty, and the building of the Rogun dam was seen more positively by the new Uzbekistan government. .
The TALCO plant has been deteriorating the local ecology in Sariasiya, Uzun, Denau, Kumkurgan, Altinsay districts of Surkhandarya region in Uzbekistan. the territory of the location of the plant is mountain-valley relief where wind, underground stream, and surface water have the primary direction that pushes the air to the downward districts of Surkhandarya region. The basic components of the emissions are fluoric hydrogen (fine-grained aerosols of firm and gaseous fluorides - soluble and insoluble), sulphurous anhydride, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, tarry matters and benzopyrene. Hydrogen fluoride gas is an acute poison that may immediately and permanently damage lungs and the corneas of the eyes. Fluoric hydrogen is as the most dangerous cuasing the following effects in human body including severe irritation and lung edema, irritation of the eyes, nose, upper and lower respiratory tract, sore throat, cough, chest tightness and also in animal bodies:
- convulsions and irregular heartbeat may occur in humans from ingestion of high doses of fluorides;
- These are the causes derived from only one substance, there are emission substances, such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (nitrogen oxide and nitrogen monoxide), carbon oxides that are harmful to human and animal bodies. According to the Ecologic Movement of Uzbekistan emissions of the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO have the following main impacts around the area of the factory:
- ambient air pollution;
- pollution of surface and groundwaters;
The territory under the impact of emissions of TALCO has been divided into 4 zones, based on the level of soluble compounds of fluorine in soils and vegetation (www.eco.uz):
Zone 1 - Sariasiya district (within the 40 km from the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO). The level of the soluble fluorine in the soils of this zone 1.5 times higher the maximum allowable concentration. The polluted layer of earth reaches 60 sm in depth and moreover, intensive accumulation of fluorides in the soils is noted;
Zone 2 – the territory in the radius of 40-60 km from the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO. The soil in this zone polluted by fluorine at a maximum allowable concentration level, but the intensive accumulation of fluorides in an arable layer of soils;
Zone 3 – the territory in the radius of 60-90 km from the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO. The level of soluble fluorine in the arable horizon of soils is below the maximum allowable concentration. The indicator of intensity of accumulation of soluble fluorine in the top horizon of soils is poor;
Zone 4 – the territory in the radius of 100 km and more from the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO. Impact of emissions of toxic forms of fluorine to the soil is not observed.
This problem was studied by the UNEP and a project – Transboundary health and environmental pollution in Central Asia – was implemented in 2012. During February 28 – March 3, UNEP and ENVSEC representatives visited in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan where they met with high-level representatives of UN to receive the latest information on transboundary pollution in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They also met with the representatives of both governments, community-based organizations, local people and the Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO).
Following a petition from Uzbekistan in September 2011, together with a request for assistance from the international community, UNEP and the ENVSEC Initiative initiated a project to assess the potential effects of TALCO in Uzbekistan. While a number of initiatives had previously been launched to address the transboundary pollution issue, available results were too general or scientifically unreliable. The objective of this ENVSEC project was to assess the problems in a scientific and neutral manner while identifying possibilities of establishing a constructive dialogue between the two countries.
From outside the region, in 2016 a Norwegian parliamentary committee asked questions of Norsk Hydro regarding its dealings with the Tajik Aluminium Company (Talco), which operates Tajikistan’s largest aluminium processing plant. Allegedly, income from the company was transferred to tax havens in the Virgin Islands. Norsk Hydro was a partner in the TALCO business.  There are many other allegations of corruption involving the president of Tajikistan, the Russian company Rusal, and numerous courts cases and arbitration cases abroad. .
In November 2017 it was reported that China will build an aluminium factory worth $1.6 billion in ex-Soviet Tajikistan. China — which already owns over half of Tajikistan’s external debt — has long sought to boost ties in the ex-Soviet Central Asia region which Russia has traditionally viewed as its backyard". . Igor Sattarov, a spokesman for Tajikistan’s state-owned aluminium company Talco said Chinese construction giant Yunnan Construction Engineering Group will build a “joint Tajik-Chinese” factory in the western town of Tursunzoda with an annual production capacity of 500,000 tonnes. The factory is expected to be completed in the next one-and-a-half years using “the most advanced technology to date” and will provide jobs for 1,200 people said at a press briefing.". . Aluminium is one of Tajikistan’s key exports but production has suffered as a result of electricity shortages in the country and low global prices for the commodity. The new plant is expected to be more energy efficient than Talco’s existing aluminium plant that also has a 500,000-tonne production capacity but produced just 76,000 tonnes in the first nine months of 2017.
The crucial role of the Rogun dam. "Hopes for developing the strategic sector of the economy depend largely whether a mega-dam called Rogun is completed to provide sufficient electricity. Construction of the dam began in 2016 but it is not clear how the government will find the $4 billion required to complete the project."  .