Central Asia’s largest aluminum producer fell short of meeting its 2010 target of 442.7kt, Reuters reported. Its actual output of 384.5kt last year represents a 2.9% decrease from 2009, said a source.

The decline in output was attributed to antiquated equip-ment and a shortage of qualified personnel.

Funding for the upgrades will come entirely from revenues on the sale of metal last year produced out of its smelter, located 30 miles west of the capital city Dushanbe.

The smelting facility, established during the Soviet era, had the best year in 2007 when it was able to produce 461kt of the metal. Talco’s exports contribute a whopping 65% of the state budget.

However many of its qualified engineers have gone abroad to seek employment in recent years.