By Rhiannon Hoyle

 

United Co. Rusal said that it disagrees with Rio Tinto PLC taking full control of Queensland Alumina Ltd., one of Australia's largest alumina refineries in which the Russian company has a 20% stake, and that talks with its partner about management of the operation are continuing.

Rio Tinto, the world's second-largest miner by market value, last week said it had taken on "100% of the capacity and governance" of the QAL refinery after sanctions from the Australian government aimed at gumming up Russia's mammoth aluminum industry.

Australia has prohibited the export of alumina, used to make aluminum, to, or for the benefit of, Russia. It has also sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who owns a large stake in Rusal's majority shareholder.

"Rusal disagrees that the operations of its subsidiary, Alumina & Bauxite Company Ltd. (ABC), do not presently comply with the Australian Government's sanctions and disagrees with the decision made by QAL management that 'step-in arrangements' under the joint venture terms have been triggered or that they are necessary," the company said in a statement .

Rusal said that it remains committed to its investment in the refinery, and that it is in continuing discussions with QAL and Rio Tinto about the intent of Australian sanctions.

"Rusal anticipates a successful resolution of the discussions with QAL and Rio Tinto and ABC resuming its participation in the operations of the Gladstone refinery," it said.

A spokesman for Rio Tinto on Monday declined to comment. Rio Tinto earlier said it wants to ensure the refinery, a large employer in the Gladstone region of Australia's Queensland state, can continue operating safely. The refinery produced 3.7 million metric tons of alumina last year.

 

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 10, 2022 22:51 ET (02:51 GMT)

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