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Australia bans the export of aluminum ores to Russia

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his country's ban on aluminum ore exports to Russia is a "commitment to holding the Putin regime to account" over the war in Ukraine.

Australia's government is banning the export of alumina and aluminum ores to Russia, as it moves to drive up the economic costs for the Kremlin over the decision to invade Ukraine.

Australian officials said the restrictions, which include a ban on bauxite, is designed to curtail Russia's ability to produce aluminum, which it in turn exports to buyers across a range of industries, including automotive and construction. It is also a vital ingredient in arms and munition manufacturing.

"[I]t's a critical input into weaponry, including guns, ammunition and missiles. Our decision here should say very clearly that to all countries, all companies operating in Australia, we are watching these things very, very carefully," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference.

He added that the ban demonstrated Australia's "absolute commitment to holding the Putin regime to account."

According to the government, aluminum is a critical export for Russia, which relies on Australia for 20% of its alumina needs.

Morrison said a ship was due to arrive in Australia from Russia this week to pick up a shipment of alumina, a key component in aluminum smelting. "That boat is not going to Russia with our alumina."

Australia also said it would provide additional support to help Ukraine's government beat back the Russian invasion and care for those impacted by the violence.

The administration announced a $21 million support package of defensive military assistance for Ukraine's military and another $30 million in emergency humanitarian aid. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.