Jamaica says Rusal making consistent payments on tax bill

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Aluminium ingots are seen stored at the foundry shop of the Rusal's Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin//File Photo

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KINGSTON, May 23 (Reuters) - Russian aluminum giant Rusal (RUAL.MM) has been making steady payments to Jamaica as part of a 2021 agreement to pay back production taxes it owes the government, according to Jamaican Transport and Mining Minister Audley Shaw.

Rusal has paid about 45% so far of a $35 million bauxite production levy that it owes Kingston, Shaw told Reuters.

"They are current in payment," he said. "They have been consistent."

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As part of the 2021 agreement, Rusal paid the government 40% of the debt upfront last fall, and then agreed to make 30 monthly payments starting in November 2021.

"They have been honouring the agreement," Shaw said.

Russia's March invasion of Ukraine, which Russia terms "a special military operation," fueled a range of international sanctions against Moscow and Russian-based companies.

Rusal is not under sanctions by Jamaica or the United States, but the company has warned that Western sanctions on Moscow may complicate its international projects. read more

Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer outside of China, runs a bauxite and alumina production complex in Jamaica via its subsidiary WINDALCO.

WINDALCO has an annual production capacity of 502,000 tonnes of alumina and 4 million tonnes of bauxite, according to its website. In 2020, Rusal globally produced 8.2 million tonnes of alumina, a key raw material used to make aluminum.

Rusal's founder, Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska, has been sanctioned by the United States, European Union and Britain. Deripaska has previously called for peace.

Rio Tinto (RIO.AX)(RIO.L), one of the world's largest aluminum producers, said earlier this month that any sanctions on Rusal would cause "pretty significant disruption" to the global aluminum market.

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Reporting by Kate Chappell; writing by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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