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TALCO's impact on Uzbekistan's border districts, Tajikistan

Transnational complaints because of pollution and water issues caused in Uzbekistan by the Tajik TALCO aluminium company since 2010.


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 [9]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:TALCO's impact on Uzbekistan's border districts, Tajikistan
Location of conflict:Tursunzoda
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Metal refineries
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Aluminum/Bauxite
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Tajik Aluminum Company is considered the largest aluminum producer in Central Asia and consumes about 40% of overall energy production in the country (data in 2009). Its annual production was 361000 tons, 351000 tons, and 281000 tons in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. However, this production is much lower than the maximum aluminum production 1989 which was 460000 tons. Also, 90% of total energy consumption constituted electricity while only 10% consumed energy was natural gas.[1]. By 2018, there is talk of a new Chinese-built aluminium plant, while TALCO experiences technical difficulties and decreased production.

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Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:around 1 million
Start of the conflict:05/07/2010
Company names or state enterprises:State Unitary Enterprise of Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO) from Tajikistan - The emissions polluting the air and the environment are being emitted from this plant
Relevant government actors:The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan;
The Ministry of Energy and Industry of the Republic of Tajikistan;
The government of Uzbekistan
International and Finance InstitutionsStandard and Poors (S&P) from United States of America - Some documents were signed between S&P and TALCO
Moody’s Investors’ Service (USA) from United States of America - Some documents were signed between S&P and TALCO
Hatch Consulting from Canada - Some documents were signed between S&P and TALCO
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Ecological Movement of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsFluorine water pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Proposal and development of alternatives:New aluminium factory planned to be built in 2017 by Chinese company
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:TALCO has decreased production. There is no evidence than pollution stopped. Also, large use of electricity for export aluminium exports seems to a waste of resources. There are many allegations of corruption against the Tajik government.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Resolution of the Senate of Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan

about neutralizing of catastrophic effect of State Unitary Enterprise TALCO on the ecology and health of indigenous people (in the Russian language: Постановление Сената Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан О мерах по нейтрализации катастрофического воздействия на экологию и здоровье людей производственной деятельности таджикского предприятия ГУП «Талко».)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Letter of the department of information and connections with the society of State Unitary Enterprise TALCO (original is in the Russian language)
[click to view]

Information about hydrogen fluoride
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{4] Annual Report 2013. Environment and Security. Final draft
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Annual Report 2012. Environment and Security. Jeneva, June 2013
[click to view]

[click to view]

[2] Transboundary impact of the polluting substances emitted by the State Unitary Enterprise «Tadjik aluminium company"(TALCO)"
[click to view]

[7] What is the true purpose of the anti-Tajik protests in Uzbekistan? 02.04.2010 . Ferghana.Ru
[click to view]

[8] The Diplomat. Who Really Owns Tajikistan's Talco? Norway Wants to Know. Not all that glitters is corruption-free: A Caribbean tax haven, a Norwegian company and a Tajik aluminium plant.

By Catherine Putz. March 10, 2016
[click to view]

[9] By Olga Hryniuk 15 January, 2018. The enduring saga of Tajikistan’s TALCO dispute
[click to view]

[11] China to build $1.6 bn aluminium plant in Tajikistan. 17 Nov. 2017.
[click to view]

[12] The Diplomat May 3, 2018. China’s Belt and Road Gets a Central Asian Boost- Uzbekistan’s transformation will fast-track the new Silk Road
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The website of Ecological Movement of the Republic of Uzbekistan
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Investment Projects
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The resolution was accepted by the Senate of Uzbekistan highlighted the environmental situation influenced by the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO
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Estimated damages of TALCO emissions in Surkhandarya regions of Uzbekistan
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TALCO loses millions of dollars because of outdated technologies, says Tajik official. January 22, 2018.
[click to view]

Organized international seminar addressed to environmental situation influenced by the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/NWAFU masters
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3568
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