AP News

By BRUCE SCHREINER

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An aluminum company planning to build a $1.7 billion plant in Appalachia said Monday it’s forging a partnership with a Russian company that until recently faced U.S. sanctions.

Russian aluminum giant Rusal wants to invest $200 million in a Kentucky taxpayer-backed aluminum rolling mill that Braidy Industries intends to build near Ashland, Kentucky. Rusal would supply aluminum for the new mill from a smelter under construction in Siberia.

Rusal said it would assume a 40 percent ownership stake in the mill in return for the investment, the Russian company said in a release.

Braidy would hold the other 60 percent share in the plant, which will produce aluminum sheet primarily for the transportation industry, including the automotive, aerospace and marine sectors.

The project is expected to create 1,500 construction jobs and more than 650 full-time jobs once the plant starts production, which is expected in early 2021. The plant is to be built not far from where Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia meet on the Ohio River.

Rusal had been among Russian companies hit with U.S. sanctions for connections to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The U.S. Treasury Department announced in January it was removing Rusal and two other companies from its sanctions list on the grounds that the companies have reduced Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stakes in the three companies.