Stockpiling bauxite at Alunortes alumina refinery in Barcarena, Para, northern Brazil. Demand for metallurgical alumina in primary aluminium production has seen the worlds largest supplier, China, diverting non-metallurgical to alumina smelters
Norsk Hydro ASA
Around 10m. tonnes of non-metallurgical grade bauxite were produced in 2010, led by China with 62% of output, UK consultancy group Roskill Information Services estimates. The country further dominated the segment of calcined bauxite, producing 82% of world supply.
China is a crucial producer of calcined bauxite and, in particular, monopolises supply of refractory grades - the only operation outside of the country that produces refractory grades for export markets is China-owned Bosai Minerals Group (see panel).
Around half of Chinas calcined bauxite output is thought to be abrasive grade material. This abundance...