Open/Close Mobile Menu Open/Close Mobile Menu

Alumina/Bauxite

Latest News

  • Rio Tinto's specialty alumina production up 6% in 2017

    Wednesday, 17 January 2018

    Following higher specialty alumina output in 2017, bauxite production is forecast flat to lower in 2018, with alumina production also seen slightly down.

  • RHI Magnesita CEO to lead World Refractories Association

    Wednesday, 17 January 2018

    Stefan Borgas’s tenure will focus on setting a global refractory industry agenda, creating a collection of improved sector data and working to ease the raw materials shortage situation.

  • Price Briefing: January 5-11

    Friday, 12 January 2018

    Fused alumina prices edge upward on supply squeeze; European green silicon carbide market sees small price move at 2018 start; Lack of Chinese soda ash for export keeps prices stable; Industrial Minerals proposes to discontinue its three bromine prices and three of its magnesia grades.

  • Fused alumina prices edge upward on supply squeeze

    Friday, 12 January 2018

    Prices for abrasive brown fused alumina have moved up on extremely limited availability, while high demand is pushing up the markets for refractory white fused alumina in both spot and contract deals.

More from Latest News

Pricing News

  • Chinese lithium carbonate prices down; European prices increase

    Friday, 19 January 2018

    Chinese lithium carbonate prices decrease this week, citing lower spot market activity, while European and North American lithium prices increase on improved consumption.

  • Price Briefing January 12 - 18

    Friday, 19 January 2018

    European graphite prices rise in early 2018 contracts; Chinese acidspar prices jump up by $100 on array of domestic factors; Seaborne antimony trioxide market picks up while European domestic prices adjust; Chinese ilmenite prices soften; Chinese soda ash prices stay flat as supply increases

  • European graphite prices rise in early 2018 contracts

    Friday, 19 January 2018

    Prices for +mesh sizes high-purity flake graphite on the European market have surged in Q1 and H1 contracts, but some suppliers are keen not to commit long-term amid continuing price volatility.

  • Chinese acidspar prices jump up by $100 on array of domestic factors

    Friday, 19 January 2018

    The fluorspar market has been left guessing as to the sole, or combination of, reasons that has left prices surging in the latest price assessment.

More from Pricing News

Features

  • 2017: The year of the supply squeeze

    Thursday, 14 December 2017

    If 2016 should be remembered with a shudder, then 2017 will be remembered as the year when it became harder to source minerals. The supply situation changed for many minerals in the markets that Industrial Minerals covers, not least because many producers were simply shut down by strict environmental laws in China, or found it harder to source materials due to demand-side challenges, consultant editor Siobhan Lismore-Scott writes.

  • 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.

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