Multinational mining giant Rio Tinto on Thursday announced it is cutting ties with Russian companies.
“Rio Tinto is in the process of terminating all commercial relationships it has with any Russian business,” the company’s spokesman said in a message to Reuters.
The company previously said it has no operational assets or employees in Russia. However, it owns 80% of Australia-based Queensland Alumina, one of the globe’s major aluminum refiners, in a joint venture with Russian aluminum producer Rusal. The company has not commented yet on how the decision to terminate ties with Russian businesses will affect its ties with Rusal.
Rio Tinto shares dropped 2.3% on the Australian exchange following the announcement.
The news could worsen the crisis in the aluminum market if the miner were to cut deliveries to Rusal from Queensland Alumina, analysts say. Aluminum prices have already spiked at historic highs earlier this week.
Rio Tinto’s announcement is also the latest in a growing list of firms that have recently said they’d be pulling out of Russia, amid the sanctions placed on the country due to its ongoing military operation in Ukraine. Apart from consumer goods firms and fast-food chains, several energy giants said they would be quitting Russia, including BP, Shell, Exxon and Total.
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