| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Australia bans alumina exports to Russia, sources coal for Ukraine

As part of its ongoing sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, Australia has imposed an immediate ban on exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia, the government announced on Sunday.

The Australian government noted in a joint statement from multiple ministries, including the prime minister’s office, that “Russia relies on Australia for over 20% of its alumina needs.” The action will also reduce Russia’s capacity to produce aluminum, which is a vital export for the country.

“To discover new and grow existing markets, the government will engage closely with exporters and peak organisations that will be impacted by the prohibition,” the statement added.

In a joint venture with Russia’s Rusal International PJSC (RUAL.MM), the world’s second-largest aluminum producer, Rio Tinto (RIO.L) owns an 80 percent ownership in Queensland Alumina Ltd (QAL).

Australia placed sanctions on two Russian businessmen with ties to the country’s mining industry last week, one of whom is billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns shares in QAL.

According to the statement, Australia has placed 476 sanctions on 443 people, including businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as 33 businesses, including the majority of Russia’s banking sector and all institutions responsible for the country’s sovereign debt.

The administration has stated that it will provide Ukraine with at least 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to cover its energy demands.

Over the last two weeks, Australian coal producers have been inundated with requests for supplies from Ukraine and other nations depending on Russian supplies, such as Poland.

The statement stated, “The Australian Government has worked with the Australian coal industry to source supplies.”

According to the statement, Whitehaven Coal has immediately organized a shipment, and the government is now working with the company as well as the Ukrainian and Polish governments to deliver the supplies as soon as possible.

The government has promised Ukraine more military equipment and humanitarian supplies.

  • Reuters