Norway’s aluminium titan Norsk Hydro ASA called for sanctions on Russian aluminium from the United States and the European Union yesterday, citing the spike in energy costs and the unfair advantage that gives Russian aluminium producers who are not experiencing the same.
Roughly half of the aluminium smelting capacity in Europe has been axed in recent months as a result of the jump in energy prices, which are a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Meanwhile, Russian production continues apace, with about 6 percent of global production emanating from Rusal’s smelters.
However, the push for sanctions against Russian aluminium has grown recently, with the United States openly discussing it and the London Metal Exchange (LME) polling its members on the subject.
Hydro CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim told Reuters on Tuesday that Russian aluminium producers have benefitted from the situation while the rest of Europe’s aluminium smelters have suffered.
“We want to urge sanctions in both Europe and the US. Our European industry shuts down, while […] we see Russian production at the same level as before the invasion. So they are benefiting.”
Aasheim went on to say that European aluminium smelters are facing an existential crisis, as a continued imbalance in power prices would render them unable to compete.
“It is an energy-intensive business, and when the gas has been cut from Russia we see the effect on the power prices, so what is important over time is to get in more renewable power.”
Hydro is the latest of several parties calling for sanctions against Russian aluminium. Last week American aluminium smelter Alcoa Corporation made a similar request of the Biden administration.