The Trump administration’s sanctions on Russia have started to bite into the aluminium interests of Australian miner Rio Tinto.
The company says it is going to declare force majeure — a standard clause in commercial contracts allowing non delivery due to extraordinary events — on certain of its contracts.
Last week the US slapped sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and 17 senior government officials, citing the annexation of Crimea and aggression toward Ukraine, its support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, and its “malicious” cyber activities around the globe.
“Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilising activities,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.
Rio Tinto reviewed arrangements it has with impacted entities following the US sanctions, announced by the US Treasury Department last week, which included Russian aluminium producer Rusal, a Rio partner.
The company says the arrangements include Rusal’s 20% interest in Queensland Alumina Limited, Rusal’s associated supply and offtake arrangements, bauxite sales to Rusal’s refinery in Ireland and contracts for alumina that are used at Rio Tinto’s smelters, mainly in France and Iceland.
“As a result of the imposition of these sanctions, Rio Tinto is in the process of declaring force majeure on certain contracts and is working with its customers to minimise any disruption in supplies,” Rio said today.
“Rio Tinto is fully committed to complying with the US sanctions.”
It did not give details on the contracts affected.
Queensland Alumina has been operated near Gladstone in Queensland for more than 50 years.