The EU proposes sanctions against Russian mining

The European Commission is proposing a ban on new investment in Russia’s mining sector as part of a new package of sanctions against Moscow aimed at further damaging the country’s economy and the Kremlin’s ability to finance its war against Ukraine.

The mining investment ban, which makes an exception for certain products, is part of the ninth package of EU sanctions that officials are negotiating with member states in the coming days, with the goal of agreeing by the end of next week on three people who know the discussions in the Financial Times.

Russia’s vast mining sector, which produces gold, iron ore, uranium and phosphates, accounted for a quarter of foreign investment in the country before the war in Ukraine, according to the Paris-based OECD.

The measure, if supported unanimously by the 27 EU member states, would be the first time Brussels has directly targeted the Russian metals sector, which it has previously avoided due to fears of potential impacts on global supply chains.

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Trading company Glencore has a 10.55 percent stake in EN+, which controls Russia’s largest aluminum producer. Global investors including BlackRock, Vanguard and UBS Asset Management own stakes in major Russian mining companies such as Norilsk Nickel and Evraz, according to S&P Capital IQ.

The full EU sanctions package, which can be amended before implementation, includes export controls on civilian technology that Brussels believes is being used to support Russia’s arms factories, a ban on transactions with three more Russian banks, and targeted sanctions against 180 more individuals. people said.

The committee declined to comment.

Previous EU measures, along with those of the US, UK and other Western allies, target many banks, defense companies, oil and gas producers and other critical parts of the country’s economy, as well as hundreds of government officials, oligarchs and propagandists. . They have already helped push the Russian economy into recession.

The exact scope of the mining investment ban is still being determined, one of the people said, adding that it is likely to include exceptions for certain products. Russia is a critical supplier of certain metals such as titanium and palladium to the global market.

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Other elements of the draft package include the banning of four Russian media channels, which the EU says are used to promote Moscow’s propaganda, controls on the export of more than 2.3 billion euros worth of dual-use products, and a ban on contacts with Russian marketing and market research companies. .

The package, developed after individual consultations between the committee and the officials of the member states, will be discussed by the ambassadors of the 27 countries of the bloc this week, and if necessary, at the summit of the EU leaders next Thursday.

Previous EU sanctions packages required some horse-trading between member states and the dilution of measures to get the necessary unanimous approval.

Hungary, which maintains closer relations with Moscow than other EU members, refused to approve some elements of the previous packages, such as the ban on Russian pipeline oil imports. Others have blocked efforts to prevent imports of products used by their companies, such as Belgium refusing to support a ban on diamonds.

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Additional reporting by Leslie Hook in London