FILE PHOTO: The Rio Tinto logo is seen on the helmet of a visitor at a borate mine in Boron, California, U.S., November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick T Fallon
March 10, 2022
By Praveen Menon
(Reuters) – Rio Tinto on Thursday became the first major mining company to announce it would cut all ties with Russian companies and join a number of leading Western companies in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The global miner has previously said it has no operating assets or employees to withdraw from Russia or Ukraine, but the move comes as Western firms have come under increasing pressure to leave Russia since the invasion began on February 24 .
Leading US companies including McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Starbucks halted trade with Russia this week and joined forces to denounce the war against Ukraine. Moscow describes its actions there as a “special operation”.
“Rio Tinto is in the process of ending all business ties with Russian companies,” a Rio spokesman said in a message sent to Reuters. It was not immediately clear which companies Rio did business with in Russia.
The Anglo-Australian company’s announcement comes after a top executive said on Wednesday the company was looking at alternative fuel sources for its Mongolian copper operations at Oyu Tolgoi, but didn’t think it could stop buying from Russia altogether.
The company did not immediately respond to questions about whether it would continue to buy Russian fuel and other products through non-Russian third parties.
The miner owns an 80 percent stake in Queensland Alumina Ltd (QAL) in a joint venture with Russia’s Rusal International PJSC, the world’s second largest aluminum producer. The company did not comment on how its decision to sever ties with Russian companies would affect Queensland Alumina’s dealings with Rusal.
Rusal acquired from Kaiser Aluminum in 2005 its 20% stake in Australia’s second largest refinery, which processes alumina, the chemical compound that contains aluminium.
In 2018, Rusal was caught up in US sanctions against Russian businessmen and corporations. Queensland Alumina was unaffected by these sanctions and so far is unaffected by restrictions put in place since the invasion of Ukraine began.
Rio has previously said it is actively reviewing all existing trade ties with Russia in its global business.
Rio shares fell as much as 8.3% on the Australian Stock Exchange as it traded ex-dividend before closing down 7.7% at A$109.91. The Sydney benchmark closed up 1.1%.
Rio rival BHP Group did not immediately say whether it has ties with Russian firms and is considering ending them.
Earlier, Royal Dutch Shell Plc stopped buying oil from Russia and announced it would cut ties with the country entirely, while the United States stepped up its campaign to punish Moscow by banning Russian oil and energy imports.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Michael Perry and Kenneth Maxwell)
https://www.oann.com/rio-tinto-to-end-commercial-relationships-with-russian-businesses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rio-tinto-to-end-commercial-relationships-with-russian-businesses Rio Tinto cuts ties with Russian companies over Ukraine war