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Mining giant Rio Tinto Group is planning to suspend bauxite supply for Russian-owned alumina plant in Ireland, in light of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, reported Bloomberg Quint.
Said to be Europe’s largest of its kind, the Aughinish Alumina refinery is owned by Russian aluminium firm United Co. Rusal International PJSC.
Employing 460 people, the refinery has an annual production capacity of 1.99 million tonnes (Mt) of hydrate and 1,915,000 tonnes of alumina.
Under an existing agreement, Rio supplies bauxite to the Aughinish refinery in exchange for receiving an equivalent amount of alumina after processing.
Rio Tinto supplies alumina to its own aluminium smelters in Europe, as well as for third-party producers.
The latest decision by the miner is said to have been taken prior to the sanctions imposed by the UK Government on Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns a stake in En+ Group International PJSC. En+ holds a majority stake in Rusal.
Rio Tinto has not disclosed when the shipments would be suspended, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The Anglo-Australian mining firm recently said that it will sever all ties with Russian businesses.
Rio Tinto, which does not have employees or operational assets in Russia or Ukraine, did not reveal whether it would continue to buy Russian fuel and other products through non-Russian third parties.
Following Rio Tinto’s announcement, the price of aluminium increased on the London Metal Exchange. It traded at $3,552 a tonne.
In a joint venture with Rusal International PJSC, Rio Tinto also operates Queensland Alumina (QAL).