There could be good news for workers at the Aughinish Alumina plant in Limerick.

The US Treasury has announced that it is planning to lift sanctions that have been imposed on the plant's Russian parent company Rusal.

450 people are employed at Aughinish Alumina and there were fears over the future of the plant because of the sanctions.

In a statement today, the US Treasury said the sanctions would be terminated in 30 days because Rusal had agreed to undertake significant restructuring and corporate governance changes.

This includes reducing the stake in the company held by the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Mr Deripaska will remain the subject of US sanctions.

The US Treasury Department has sent a letter to Congress outlining the reasons for lifting the sanctions.

It states that "the designation of Rusal, the world's second largest aluminium producer, was felt immediately in global aluminum markets. The price of aluminium soared in the weeks following the designation".

The letter also makes reference to Ireland: "Rusal subsidiaries in the United States, Ireland, Sweden, Jamaica, Guinea, and elsewhere faced imminent closure without limited sanctions mitigation".

The Irish Government has repeatedly raised concerns about the future of the Aughinish Alumina plant with US officials.

Last week, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe discussed the matter at a meeting in Washington with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The announcement has been welcomed by Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

In a statement this evening, he said it is "a very welcome return on the intensive efforts made to protect Aughinish Alumina and the many jobs that are sustained and supported by the firm."