Course of expansion

Trends in the extraction of bauxite and alumina

Summary: Bauxite and alumina are the base materials for the production of aluminium. Although the world economic crisis recently caused a slight decline in aluminium consumption, the prospects and future expectations are very optimistic, with a doubling of the worldwide consumption expected in the next 15 years. If bottlenecks are to be prevented in bauxite and alumina production, this means that a strong increase in capacities is necessary. The leading manufacturers are prepared for this situation. The only production method that does not appear to completely fulfil modern requirements is the Bayer Process for the production of alumina, which is over 100 years old. However, a lot has changed to this process.

 

1 Market information

The worldwide demand for aluminium had risen strongly in past years, but recent declines in the two most important markets, the automobile industry and the construction sector, also hit the aluminium industry hard in 2009. The starting material for the manufacturing of aluminium is bauxite, which is mainly mined in opencast pits. The most important bauxite producing countries are Australia, China, Brazil, India, Guinea and Jamaica. The bauxite is processed into aluminium oxide (alumina), which – depending on the amount of aluminium oxide in the raw material – requires...

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