In 1996, the Malian government and state-owned China Light Industrial Corporation for Foreign Economic and Technical Cooperation (CLETC) entered into a joint venture to establish the Mali Sugar Conglomerate, with CLETC holding 60% of the company and the government holding 40%. The Conglomerate took control of two sugar factories that were built with Chinese assistance in the 1960s and 1970s and sugar-cane plantations on 5,700 ha, known as SUKALA S.A. In 2009, the Malian government signed a deal with CLETC to establish a new sugar project, New Complexe Sucrier Du Kala Superieur SA (N’Sukala), in which CLETC was given a 50-year renewable lease on 20,000 ha of lands in the Office du Niger for irrigated sugar-cane production. The plant was completed in November of 2012, and production had started on test plots at that time, however construction started before the ESIA was completed or villagers notified of the agreement. As of 2011 only 4,000 ha of the allocation was planted – and the CEO of Sinolight cited squatters as a main setback, saying all of the acreage is to be developed by 2013 if the government arranges for the removal of the ‘squatters’.