The Federal Government has increased its support of an embattled Ukraine while further sanctioning the invading Russia, with several mining companies chipping in for the cause.
Whitehaven Coal has quickly produced 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal for the government to donate to Ukraine to support the eastern European country’s energy security.
“In a very tight supply market, Whitehaven has been able to commit this important shipment while ensuring contracted customer demand is met,” the miner stated.
“Additionally, Whitehaven will also contribute $250,000 to the Australian Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.”
A joint statement from several ministers including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Keith Pitt (Resources), Dan Tehan (Trade), Marise Payne (Foreign Affairs) and Alex Hawke (Immigration) outlined how the coal would benefit Ukrainians.
“The assistance will help keep the country’s coal-fired power generators operating and supplying electricity to country’s power grid, supporting the Ukrainian people by keeping lights on, homes heated, and factories running at this very difficult time,” the statement read.
However, Whitehaven was not the only mining company to support Ukraine – BHP, Newmont and Anglo American have each donated $US5 million ($6.74 million) for humanitarian relief.
The latter two miners also stated they will encourage and facilitate any employee donations, with Anglo American matching its up to £1,000 ($1770) per person per year through its Employee Match Funding Scheme.
The Federal Government also applied further sanctions to Russia, bringing the total to 476 upon 443 individuals and 33 entities.
This included an immediate ban on Australian exports of alumina and aluminium ores (including bauxite) to Russia, in an attempt to limit Russia’s ability to produce aluminium.
Prior to these sanctions, Australia had supplied nearly 20 per cent of Russia’s alumina needs which were integral for operations in the automotive, aerospace, packaging, machinery, construction and armaments industries.
Russian-owned UC Rusal owns or partially owns aluminium refineries, smelters and mines across five continents, including a 20 per cent interest in Queensland Alumina (QAL).
The QAL refinery (80 per cent owned by Rio Tinto) is near Gladstone and produces around 3.7 million tonnes of alumina every year.
The Federal Government said it will work to ensure these sanctions don’t seriously impact on the Australian resources sector.
“The Government will work closely with exporters and peak bodies that will be affected by the ban to find new and expand existing markets,” the joint statement read.