Russian aluminum producer Rusal said on Friday it “disagrees” with arrangements that allow Rio Tinto Ltd to take sole charge of jointly owned refiner Queensland Alumina Ltd (QAL).
Rio’s move effectively cuts Rusal’s access to production and management at the refiner under an Australian ban against exporting alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia.
The Australian government imposed the ban last month as part of its sanctions against Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.
Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum producer, said Rio’s decision does not materially impact its business but may influence the availability of bauxite products, leading to more logistics costs.
Alumina & Bauxite Company, the firm through which it holds a stake in QAL, is in compliance with Australia’s sanctions, Rusal said.
Australia had also imposed sanctions on Russian billionaire and former president of Rusal, Oleg Deripaska, who holds a stake in QAL.
“Rio Tinto has taken on 100% of the capacity and governance of Queensland Alumina Limited until further notice,” a spokesperson for the mining giant had said earlier in the day.
Rusal said it was continuing discussions with QAL and Rio Tinto, and anticipates a successful resolution.
QAL is an alumina refinery joint-venture located in Gladstone, Queensland. Rio owns 80% of the refinery, while Rusal owns the rest.
(By Savyata Mishra and Harish Sridharan; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Devika Syamnath)