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Ireland, The aluminium giant Rusal warns of unprecedented pressure

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Russian aluminium giant Rusal, which owns the huge Aughinish Alumina smelter in the Shannon Estuary, has warned it faces “unprecedented pressure” from the fallout of Russia’s war on Ukraine as it seeks to mend its international supply and sales chains.

The global producer employs almost 60,000 people at its mining, smelting, and manufacturing plants around the world, including in Russia, Guinea, Jamaica, Italy, and Sweden, as well as in Ireland at its Aughinish plant in Co Limerick.

Rusal last year reportedly diverted bauxite metals from Guinea for processing in Aughinish Alumina when its smelter in Ukraine shut down because of the Russian invasion.

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Finished aluminium products are used globally in making cars, constructing buildings, consumer packaging, and in generating electricity.

The Russian giant hasn’t faced Western sanctions, but its international operations were rocked last year when the Australian government banned exports from Australian mines to Russia of alumina and aluminium ores.

In the 2022 earnings report released on Friday, Rusal warned that pressure remains intense.

Output by tonne of aluminium products rose last year even as output of alumina and bauxite fell, helped by “redirecting finished product flows to domestic and Asian markets”, it said.

“The group is also revising supply and sales chains, ensuring an optimal equity and debt ratio, searching for resolutions of logistic difficulties, as well as the ways to service its obligations in order to adapt the current economic changes to maintain the continuance of the group’s operations,” it said.

Rusal also warned about rising interest rates, the current banking market turmoil in the US and Europe, and the risk of any global economic slowdown.

“This complex of negative factors has a negative impact on the aluminium price,” the company said, Pro Active Investors reports.

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