Latest News

  • Andalusite price soars for 2022 supply

    Thursday, 02 December 2021

    Andalusite prices for 2022 supplies pushed upward with demand expected to exceed available output, while logistics costs and issues affecting alternative materials weighed on delivered prices into Europe, market sources told Fastmarkets in the week ended Thursday December 2.

  • IN FIGURES: China’s refractory raw materials exports in October 2021

    Monday, 29 November 2021

    A summary of China’s refractory raw materials exports in October 2021.

  • Fused alumina prices down again but bauxite holds firm

    Friday, 26 November 2021

    Fused alumina prices continued to adjust downward in the two weeks to Thursday November 25, with slow buying activity and relatively improved production following earlier record surges. Meanwhile, bauxite prices were steady on prevailing supply risks but market participants warned of possible further upward moves.

  • Chinese fused alumina supply under further threat from Code Orange air-quality action

    Wednesday, 24 November 2021

    Local authorities in the Chinese cities of Zhengzhou and Luoyang issued a Code Orange response protocol (level two) on Wednesday November 24 because of a forecast for worsening air quality until the end of the month.

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Pricing News

  • Chinese lithium carbonate prices up on tight supply, year-end restocking

    Friday, 03 December 2021

    Chinese battery-grade lithium carbonate price resumed its ascent in the week to Thursday December 2, with consumers conducting year-end restocking making steady purchases amid tight availability of spot units.

  • Andalusite price soars for 2022 supply

    Thursday, 02 December 2021

    Andalusite prices for 2022 supplies pushed upward with demand expected to exceed available output, while logistics costs and issues affecting alternative materials weighed on delivered prices into Europe, market sources told Fastmarkets in the week ended Thursday December 2.

  • Silicon carbide prices jump on low availability from China, Europe

    Thursday, 02 December 2021

    Silicon carbide prices continued to rise across the board during November because of critically low inventories in Europe and reduced availability from China.

  • Freight rates support zircon price rise

    Thursday, 02 December 2021

    Zircon prices climbed slightly on both a cif China and a cif Spain basis in the week to Thursday December 2, with high freight rates continuing to be significant.

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  • China’s bauxite and fused alumina exports climb

    Wednesday, 15 September 2021

    Chinese exports of refractory-grade bauxite increased by 51.58% year on year in the first seven months of 2021, while shipments of white and brown fused alumina (WFA, BFA) rose by 52.37% and 26.34% respectively over the same period.

  • INTERVIEW: ‘We will be seeking a good balance between capital- and knowledge-intensive materials’ - TV Narendran

    Monday, 14 June 2021

    With responsibilities across Tata Steel’s diverse international portfolio of steelmaking assets, chief executive officer and managing director TV Narendran has a wide-ranging view of, and experience in, the global steel industry. He told Kunal Bose about the company’s strategy to thrive in a changing world for major steel producers

  • Looking for answers on carbon reduction

    Monday, 14 June 2021

    The steel and metals industries stress that their products are key to enabling solutions to address global environmental priorities. Myra Pinkham gathers international views on progress in ‘green’ transformation and asks what today’s environmental goals imply for industrial production and future demand

  • Bauxite shortage likely for refractories

    Monday, 15 February 2021

    Refractory raw material consumers are likely to face shortages in bauxite, with the continued supply and logistics bottlenecks from China coming against a low-stock situation in destination markets.

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.



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.



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