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Alumina/Bauxite

Latest News

  • Price briefing 15–21 September

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    Chinese fused magnesia prices hit all-time high; a ban on sales of explosives propel bauxite prices; brown fused alumina hit two-year high; iodine rises as consumers stock up; lithium prices held firm

  • Brown fused alumina prices hit two-year high

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    Brown fused alumina spot prices continue to climb higher as the environmental inspections show no sign of abating in China, while white fused alumina is supported by raw material cost increases.

  • Chinese bauxite price rocket higher on explosives ban

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    A looming mining curtailment due to an explosive sale ban in China has propelled spot bauxite prices higher. Supply uncertainty is set to continue over the coming months as Beijing continues its anti-pollution crusade.

  • Morgan develops extra-large crucibles

    Thursday, 21 September 2017

    The crucibles will have a capacity of 3 tonnes of molten metal, which can be increased up to 10 tonnes for specific melting requirements.

More from Latest News

Pricing News

  • Price briefing 15–21 September

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    Chinese fused magnesia prices hit all-time high; a ban on sales of explosives propel bauxite prices; brown fused alumina hit two-year high; iodine rises as consumers stock up; lithium prices held firm

  • Brown fused alumina prices hit two-year high

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    Brown fused alumina spot prices continue to climb higher as the environmental inspections show no sign of abating in China, while white fused alumina is supported by raw material cost increases.

  • Lithium prices firm as Europe, US catch up with China

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    Lithium prices in China remain firm while European and US markets spot prices start catching up. Lithium carbonate supply remains problematic while new energy vehicles production and sale rates in China remain strong.

  • Chinese bauxite price rocket higher on explosives ban

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    A looming mining curtailment due to an explosive sale ban in China has propelled spot bauxite prices higher. Supply uncertainty is set to continue over the coming months as Beijing continues its anti-pollution crusade.

More from Pricing News

Features

  • A rock and a hard place

    Friday, 08 September 2017

    Demand for refractory products is evolving, forcing suppliers to upgrade their offers and processes to stay ahead of the game, while Chinese-origin raw materials are appreciating on the back of supply shortages, making productions costlier, Davide Ghilotti, IM Chief Reporter, finds.

  • Indian refractories sector hopes rising steel tide will lift all boats

    Friday, 08 September 2017

    Booming steel production has helped prop up demand for Indian refractories amid lacklustre demand from cement and foundries, but as Sunder Singh, IM Correspondent explains, the country’s relatively healthy market is attracting increased foreign competition.

  • Innovation and conservatism in technical ceramics

    Thursday, 26 January 2017

    Technical ceramics are opening up new possibilities in everything from spaceships to dentistry, but the closed nature of the industry’s raw materials supply chain may be holding the sector back, Davide Ghilotti, Chief Reporter, finds.

  • Pure genius? How new technology could shake up HPA supply

    Thursday, 26 January 2017

    High purity alumina is typically produced via an add-on stage to traditional alumina extraction from bauxite, but at least two companies are on the cusp of breaking into the material’s supply chain with revolutionary new processing methods, Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, finds.

More from Features

Market Brief

Bauxite is the primary source of aluminium metal, and about 85% of bauxite mined is processed via the Bayer Process to make alumina trihydrate (ATH), then smelter grade alumina (SGA) from which aluminium metal is derived.


The respective processes take place in an alumina refinery and aluminium smelter, which may or may not be integrated.


The remaining 15% of crude bauxite mined is used to produce a range of non-metallurgical bauxite grades and non-metallurgical alumina grades.

 

Bauxite

There are three main bauxites types – boehmite, diaspore, and gibbsite – which each differ in chemical and physical characteristics, and each have predominance in certain regions of the world.

 

Owing to their different characteristics, bauxites are carefully selected for non-metallurgical uses as demanded by the required end use specifications of the derived bauxite and alumina grades.

 

According to the USGS, 201m. tonnes of bauxite was mined in 2009.

 

Although metallurgical grade bauxite may be suitable for certain non-metallurgical applications, such as in cements and slag conditioning, most non-metallurgical bauxites are confined to specific regions in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Guinea, Greece, Guyana, Turkey and the USA.

 

The primary sources of non-metallurgical bauxite are China, Greece, Guyana and Turkey.

 

About 5% of bauxite is mined and processed for direct use as non-metallurgical bauxite grades. Raw, uncalcined bauxite is used for cement, slag conditioning, and chemicals.

 

Calcined bauxite is produced to make abrasive, refractory, welding, and proppant grades.

 

Abrasive grade bauxite is fused to manufacture brown fused alumina used in abrasives and refractories.

 

Alumina

The remaining mined bauxite, about 10%, is processed using the Bayer Process to manufacture ATH, the precursor to a range of non-metallurgical grade alumina (NMGA) grades which serve a wide variety of end uses.

 

Although there are specific NMGA plants, some SGA refineries also host a certain amount of capacity for NMGA production. This may change as market demand for SGA and NMGA dictates.

 

This NMGA market is estimated to total 5.5-5.8m. tpa. The bulk of the NMGA market is termed “commodity hydrate”, eg. used to make aluminium sulphate for water treatment (see pie charts), although fine grades are used as high value flame retardants.

 

The remainder, some 2.8m. tpa is defined as “speciality” or “premium” grades, which are based on calcined aluminas. These are used in higher value end uses, such as in refractories, ceramics, and polishing.

 

Calcined aluminas are also the feedstock to produce high value, high purity grades of tabular alumina and white fused alumina.

 

Bauxite producers

Bosai Minerals Group – China

Demireller Mining – Turkey

Hellenic Mining Enterprises – Greece

S&B Industrial Minerals – Greece

 

Alumina producers

Alcoa – USA

Almatis – Germany

Aluchem – USA

MAL Magyar Aluminium – Hungary

Martinswerk – Germany

Nabaltec – Germany

Alteo – France

 

Fused alumina producers

C-E Minerals (part of Imerys) – USA

Elfusa – Brazil

Henan Mianchi Great Wall Corundum – China

Treibacher Schleifmittel – Austria

Washington Mills Electro Minerals – USA