Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Partnership Goes Cold; Rio Tinto Suspends Contracts with Russian Partner, Rusal

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Partnership Goes Cold; Rio Tinto Suspends Contracts with Russian Partner, Rusal

Article excerpt

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump's Cold War has come to Queensland after Rio Tinto announced it was suspending contracts with its partner, Rusal, at Queensland Alumina, in Gladstone.

A Rio Tinto spokesman said at this point the decision was not expected to significantly impact on QAL operations.

Rusal is owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and has a 20 per cent stake in QAL, but is now subject to sanctions imposed by the US Treasury.

The sanctions are a retaliation by Washington for Russia's apparent meddling in the US elections in 2016.

The company used the "force majeure'' clause in its contract which allows it to suspend certain actions because of unforeseeable circumstances. The clause is used in Australia when events like flooding or cyclones prevent the shipping of commodities such as coal.

Rio said that since the announcement of sanctions by the US Treasury it had reviewed its arrangements.

"The arrangements include Rusal's 20 per cent interest in Queensland Alumina Limited in Australia, Rusal's associated supply and offtake arrangements, bauxite sales to Rusal's refinery in Ireland and offtake contracts for alumina that are used at Rio Tinto's smelters, mainly in France and Iceland. …

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