Aughinish in line for new investment

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The Rusal Aughinish Alumina plant at Askeaton.

THE Russian owners of Aughinish Alumina in Askeaton have confirmed that they are planning further investment in the County Limerick plant.

It follows the lifting of trade sanctions against parent company Rusal by the US Government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which was met with widespread relief from workers and contractors at the West Limerick aluminium plant.

However that relief was further bolstered after En+, Rusal’s controlling firm, said that it would invest in Aughinish.

Last April, the OFAC blacklisted Oleg Deripaska, the majority shareholder in En+ and imposed punitive measures on his businesses over his links to the Kremlin and Russian President Putin.

Months of negotiating and lobbying by Irish Government officials and representatives of the alumina industry resulted in news that the sanctions would be lifted in January.

Last week, Greg Barker, a member of the House of Lords and fromer UK energy minister who now sits as the independent non-executive chairman of En+ said the firm was relieved at the sanctions being lifted and that it now paved the way for investment in Aughinish.

“We will continue to invest in the plant now that we can be confident about its future. It has been a very long march to get here and it was great news for Aughinish,” he added