Rusal Sues Rio Tinto For Return Of 20 Percent Share Of Queensland Alumina

Rusal Sues Rio Tinto For Return Of 20 Percent Share Of Queensland Alumina

Russian Federation aluminium titan UC Rusal is suing Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group to receive back its 20-percent share of Queensland Alumina Ltd. that the latter firm took from Rusal in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

According to documents reviewed by Reuters, Rusal is pushing back against Rio Tinto’s response to the move as well as Australia’s overall response to the invasion and accompanying sanctions on Russian business interests in country.

Although Rusal itself has yet to face sanctions as a result of the invasion, Rio Tinto unilaterally assumed Rusal’s fifth of QAL in April, blocking Rusal’s access to needed alumina. Speaking through its subsidiary Alumina and Bauxite Company (ABC), Rusal told the Australian Federal Court that it has not been necessary for Rio Tinto to step in and make the move. As a result, ABC argues that Rio Tinto breached its obligations under the agreement underlying the joint venture.

Rio Tinto made its move on QAL not long after Rusal severed ties with founder Oleg Deripaska, who himself is under sanction for his ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Deripaska has long been a lightning rod for controversy, previously being under sanction by the United States government during the Trump Administration. That previous sanction prompted Deripaska to divest most of his control over Rusal and its parent company, En+ Group.

The Australian government embargoed exports of alumina and bauxite to Russia in March. Independently, Rio Tinto cut ties with all Russian business interests not long after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rusal asked the court to reinstate its 20-percent share at QAL at once as well as guaranteeing that continuing its business at the refinery would not constitute a breach of sanctions against Russia.

Neither Rio Tinto nor Rusal commented to Reuters on the matter prior to press time.