SAFE Responds to Potential Russian Aluminum Ban

Image: Pavel Losevsky

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. government is considering barring all imports of Russian aluminum into the United States due to the recent escalation of attacks on civilians in Ukraine.

“The prospect of removing Russian aluminum from the U.S. market reinforces the importance of sustaining, modernizing, and expanding domestic primary aluminum smelters in the United States,” said Joe Quinn, Vice President for Strategic Industrial Materials at SAFE. “There is a mothballed primary aluminum smelter in Washington state. A large smelter in Kentucky recently curtailed due to skyrocketing energy costs. A third smelter, in Indiana, is operating only two of the three potlines. The Administration should work to revitalize all three U.S. smelters to ensure domestic supply chain resiliency and produce enough aluminum to off-set Russian imports.”

There are only six primarily aluminum smelter operations in the United States, down from more than 30 smelters in 1985. China produces more than 60% of the world’s aluminum, primarily through coal fired electricity, and Russia is the world’s leading producer hydro-powered aluminum.  As with the Middle East for oil, the U.S. is at risk of depending upon unreliable and potentially hostile nations for strategic industrial materials.

Earlier this month, Quinn and SAFE Chairman Admiral Dennis Blair in an op-ed urged the U.S. government to prioritize domestic aluminum when implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, in particular new loan guarantees and support for cleaner production of strategic industrial materials.

Aluminum is especially important to electric vehicles — on average requiring 30 percent more aluminum than traditional automobiles — because of the added range it provides battery powered engines. The transition away from carbon-emitting energy and transportation, the projected mass adoption of electric vehicles in particular, will require significantly more primary aluminum production overall.


Contact: Bridget Dunn | 202.539.7885 | 

About SAFE

SAFE is a non-partisan, non-profit policy thought leadership organization dedicated to accelerating the real-world deployment of secure, resilient, and sustainable transportation and energy solutions of the United States, and its partners and allies, by shaping policies, perceptions and practices that create opportunity for all.​