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
NameTALCO's impact on Uzbekistan's border districts, Tajikistan
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Mineral processing
Metal refineries
Specific CommoditiesAluminum/Bauxite
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsTajik 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.

In the 1990s, as emissions impacts were realized in the northern part of Surkhandarya region Uzbek side which has been trying to attract the attention of international community to the current situation. Uzbekistan always argued that the construction has been built on the basis of old-fashioned facilities and need to be replaced to new modern ones so that deplete the emissions to the atmosphere and reduce the impacts to the northern districts of Surkahandarya region. According to Ecological Movement of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Agreement on Cooperation for improving on environmental conditions in a zone of negative impact of TALCO had been assigned between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on the 17th of November, 1994 so as to mitigate negative consequences of the impact of emissions of the plant on the environment population health in the region, however, the Research and Technical Program on Improving Environmental Conditions of the TALCO for 1996-2000, financing of which should be provided by the factory was not realized.[2]

On the 20-21st of August 2013, the Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan organized international seminar to address the attention of international community to neutralize the catastrophic impact of the production activities of TALCO on the environment and the health of indigenous people. Some foreign scientists and guests from the Netherlands, Latvia, Japan, Great Britain, France were invited to the seminar.[3]

Moreover, on the 22nd of August in2013, the special resolution of the Senate of Uzbekistan called “Neutralize the catastrophic impact of the production activities of Tajikistan’s State Unitary Enterprise TALCO on the environment and the health of people” was approved.[4]

The resolution states that emissions from Tajikistan’s State Unitary Enterprise TALCO is emitting 22-23 thousand tons of pollutions to the atmosphere and out of this, i.e. 200 tons constitute fluorine hydrogen. Furthermore, the emissions consist of toxic gases, sulphur, and other containing, and about 1 million people who residents in Denau, Uzun, Sariasiya and other districts are suffering from these pollutions.[4]

Having been approved this resolution, the information department press-service of State Unitary Enterprise TALCO placed its counter-expressed letter addressed the resolution of the Senate of Uzbekistan, the letter was placed with the date of August 27, 2013.[5]

According to the letter, State Unitary Enterprise TALCO has been using modern facilities and its emissions are not causing the catastrophic situation as stated in the resolution. The factory has been endowing so that remain the ecological situation as before the factory had been built in the country. Moreover, the letter describes some data in terms of some social life of local people of Uzbekistan, the data that expresses general birth rate, general death rate, death rate of babies, death rate of mothers, death rate because of bronchial-related diseases, etc. either in Uzbekistan and its some districts. According to the letter, the data shows that the situation in the districts bordered with Tajikistan is better than other districts of Uzbekistan. Furthermore, the letter proposed to conduct international expertise with the collaboration of, also, Uzbeksitan's ecologists. Moreover, according to the letter, the TALCO had endowed about 100 million US dollar with the aim of protecting the environment and around the TALCO located neighboorhoods.[5]

Moreover, in 2010, Uzbekistan ecologists with cooperation of the National University of Uzbekistan, Scientific-research hydrometeorology institute “Uzgidromet”, University of Economy of Uzbekistan, and Uzbekistan Science Academy estimated the damages in TALCO emissions impacted zones (Denau, Jarkurgan, Sariosiyo, and Uzun) of Surkhandarya region. The estimation constituted for US$228.3 million in four years (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003).[6]

[1] www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/tj-talco-energy-audit-report-executive-summary.pdf

[2] http://eco.uz/en/library/useful-literature/143-transboundary-impact-of-the-polluting-substances-emitted-by-the-state-unitary-enterprise-tadjik-aluminium-company-talco-the-former-tadjik-aluminium-factory-on-population-and-environment-of-various-areas-of-the-surkhan-darya-region

[3] http://old.senat.uz/ru/news/2013/22-08-2.html

[4] http://old.senat.uz/ru/news/2013/22-08-3.html

[5] talco.com.tj/sites/default/files/_press-services/press-relizy/2013/soobshcheniye_press-sluzhby_27-08-2013.pdf

[6] http://www.uzdaily.com/articles-id-11851.htm
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Populationaround 1 million
Start Date05/07/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesState 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 actorsThe Government of the Republic of Tajikistan;

The Ministry of Energy and Industry of the Republic of Tajikistan;

The government of Uzbekistan
International and Financial 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 organisations and other supportersEcological Movement of the Republic of Uzbekistan
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement 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
OtherFluorine water pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Development of AlternativesNew aluminium factory planned to be built in 2017 by Chinese company
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

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]


Information about hydrogen fluoride
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{4] Annual Report 2013. Environment and Security. Final draft
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Letter of the department of information and connections with the society of State Unitary Enterprise TALCO (original is in the Russian language)
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Annual Report 2012. Environment and Security. Jeneva, June 2013
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[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
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The website of Ecological Movement of the Republic of Uzbekistan
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[11] China to build $1.6 bn aluminium plant in Tajikistan. 17 Nov. 2017.
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[7] What is the true purpose of the anti-Tajik protests in Uzbekistan? 02.04.2010 . Ferghana.Ru
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[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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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.
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Organized international seminar addressed to environmental situation influenced by the State Unitary Enterprise TALCO
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[2] Transboundary impact of the polluting substances emitted by the State Unitary Enterprise «Tadjik aluminium company"(TALCO)"
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[9] By Olga Hryniuk 15 January, 2018. The enduring saga of Tajikistan’s TALCO dispute
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Other Documents

The protest action against TALCO in Uzbekistan. Photo of Uznews.Net
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Demonstration against activity of TALCO The rallies and pickets were held on the 5th of July 2010 in Uzun and Sariasiya districts of Surkhandarya region. About 1,400 people participated in the demonstration with posters and slogans such as “We fight for clean environment!”, “Damage to nature – damage to future!”, “We request international ecologic expertise of Tajik Aluminum Company!”. You can the slogan in the Uzbek language with Cyrillic letters "We request international ecologic expertise of Tajik Aluminum Company!" in the picture (http://uzdaily.com/articles-id-10773.htm).
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ContributorEnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/NWAFU masters
Last update19/08/2018
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