The $520 million, three-year loan came from ABN Amro, Calyon, Barclays, and Sberbank of Russia and will be refinanced through another long-term loan which is currently in the negotiation stage.

The hydro plant will require some $380 million of investment from UES subsidiary Hydro OGK and Rusal in 2007. During this year the development programme includes construction works, laying of 300,000 m3 of concrete, 4 mcm of earth works on the main facilities, completion of the reconstruction of the production base for the works, and selection of suppliers of the core hydrotechnical equipment.

“This demonstrates the growing interest and trust on the part of the international banking community towards large-scale projects and the companies that are implementing them”, said Vladislav Solovyev, Rusal’s chief finance officer.

The 600,000 tonne per annum aluminium smelter will become one of the major consumers of the hydro plant’s output once they come on line in 2009.