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Australia bans alumina exports to Russia, sources coal for Ukraine -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: The Rio Tinto alumina refining plant in Gove (also known as Nhulunbuy) is waiting for ships to load at its Rio Tinto refinery. It’s located about 650 km east of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. July 16, 2013. Picture taken July 16, 2013 REUTERS/David Gray

(Reuters] – Australia has imposed an urgent ban on the export of alumina and aluminium ores to Russia. The move was made as part of continuing sanctions against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a joint statement, several Australian ministries and the prime minister’s offices stated that Russia depends on Australia for almost 20 percent of its aluminium needs. The move would limit Russia’s ability to produce aluminum, which Russia is dependent on for its critical export.

The statement stated that the Government would work closely with peak organizations and exporters who will be affected to expand and find new markets.

Rio Tinto, an Anglo-Australian mining company (NYSE:), owns 80% of Queensland Alumina Ltd (QAL) as part of a joint venture. This is Rusal International PJSC, Russia’s second largest aluminum producer.

Australia placed sanctions last week on two Russian businessmen who had links to the mining industry. One of these was Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire and QAL shareholder.

Australia has so far imposed a total of 476 sanctions on 443 individuals, including businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and 33 entities, including most of Russia’s banking sector and all entities responsible for the country’s sovereign debt, the statement said.

To meet Ukraine’s energy requirements, the government said that it would donate at most 70,000 tonnes thermal coal.

Australian coal producers are being bombarded over the weeks with requests for supply from Ukraine, Poland and other countries that rely on Russian resources.

According to the statement, “The Australian Government worked with the Australian mining industry to find supplies.”

Whitehaven Coal quickly organized a shipment and the Government now works with them and the Ukrainian, Polish, and Polish Governments in order to get the supplies delivered as soon as possible, according to the statement.

Additional military equipment was also promised by the government, as well as humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

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