World Bulletin / News Desk
Gas-rich Turkmenistan on Friday opened a $1.1 billion potash fertilizer plant in a joint venture with ex-Soviet Belarus, state media reported.
Speaking at the the opening, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said the joint production facility was one of the largest in Asia and represented "the birth of a new industry" in a country reliant on natural gas exports.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also attended, saying he hoped the plant will turn Turkmenistan into a "flagship for potash production in the whole Central Asian region."
Construction on the joint Turkmen-Belarusian mining and processing venture called Garlyk began in 2009 in the northeastern Lebap region.
The Garlyk potash deposit is estimated at more than two billion tonnes, TDH noted.
Government-owned company Turkmenhimiya, or Turkmen Chemicals, said the plant will employ 1,700 people, 30 percent of whom were trained in Belarus, which is a global leader in producing potash along with neighbouring Russia.
The plant's completion comes at a crucial moment for Turkmenistan which has seen prices for natural gas crumble since 2014 and long-term supply agreements with Russia and Iran collapse amid payment disputes.
The breakdown of these trading relationships makes the authoritarian republic of over five million people highly dependent on China, where an economic slowdown threatens to dampen demand.
Potash prices have fared even worse than those for gas, however, falling to roughly a quarter of the level that they were at when construction of the Garlyk plant began.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Nisan 2017, 14:20