Global aluminium giant Rusal announced plans to build a green field aluminium rolling mill in Kentucky in a press release on Monday. The Russian company will partner with the Ashbury, Kentucky-based aluminum alloys manufacturer Braidy Industries Inc. to produce aluminium products for American automotive manufacturers.
Rusal will earn a 40% share in the joint project in exchange for its $200 million investment. The Russian company will be the American company's exclusive supplier of low-carbon aluminum, the Associated Press reports.
The news of the Russian aluminum giant’s joint project in the U.S. follows the Trump administration’s decision to lift sanctions on Rusal in late January. Rusal and other Russian firms tied to Rusal's CEO Oleg Deripaska were sanctioned in April 2018 and squandered the Russian oligarch’s business opportunities in the United States.
Deripaska, who has close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, was under investigation for allegedly purchasing private political briefings from former Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort in 2016. During the Special Counsel investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, Deripaska declined to respond to inquiries about his potential ties with the Trump campaign.
Experts have expressed concern regarding the potential security risks posed by the Russian-American joint business venture.
“Company of sanctioned Russian oligarch & election interferer DERIPASKA—granted unexplained sanctions relief by Treasury—announces it will build totally pointless aluminum plant in Kentucky, home of McConnell+Rand Paul,” wrote foreign policy and strategy consultant Molly McKew in a tweet.
She continued, “The facility will use aluminum imported from Siberia and other people's technology to roll metal. Sure. Whatever.”