April 29, 2020 / 6:24 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2--Ukraine alumina plant of Russia's Rusal says may temporarily suspend output

(Adds Ukraine customs declined to comment)

MOSCOW/KIEV, April 29 (Reuters) - An alumina plant in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv, part of Russian aluminium group Rusal , said on Wednesday it may have to temporarily suspend production after Ukrainian customs authorities blocked access to supplies of bauxite.

The plant, near Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline, relies on imported bauxite and then exports alumina to be used at Rusal’s aluminium smelters in Siberia.

“The Mykolaiv alumina plant operates entirely in line with Ukrainian law as it stands,” the business said in a statement.

“Despite this, the Black Sea customs authority... is hindering the import of bauxite raw materials into Ukraine, which has led to a critical drop in bauxite stocks at the plant,” the statement said.

Ukraine’s customs declined to comment.

The plant, which employs around 3,500 people, said its supplies of bauxite had fallen to critical levels and it may soon be unable to maintain production on a four-day week basis.

If supplies drop to a level that can only furnish a three-day week, the plant is unable to function for technical reasons, and so from April 30 a temporary suspension of operations will begin, it said.

The plant said it had written a letter to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, asking for support in settling the issue. (Reporting by Polina Devitt in MOSCOW; Additional reporting by Natalia Zinets in KIEV; Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Chris Reese, Kirsten Donovan)

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