Alumina/Bauxite

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Pricing News

  • Price briefing: October 12-18

    Friday, 19 October 2018

    Antimony trioxide markets soften on low demand; All DBM kilns closed in Dashiqiao; China's domestic DBM prices up; Bauxite, fused alumina market in supply limbo in Q4; PRICING NOTICE: Discontinuation of micronised zircon, zircon opacifiers, zircon flour and fused zirconia prices; GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: Chinese producers raise battery-grade lithium carbonate offer prices; seaborne markets quiet; Iodine sellers looking to push prices closer to $28 per kg; Acidspar prices continue to rise, with contracts for 2019 settled early

  • Acidspar prices continue to rise, with contracts for 2019 settled early

    Friday, 19 October 2018

    Fastmarkets’ fluorspar price assessments in two markets have risen this week, which reflects the earlier-than-usual settlement of contracts for next year’s supplies, a sign of urgency among buyers.

  • Iodine sellers looking to push prices closer to $28 per kg

    Friday, 19 October 2018

    With the iodine market undersupplied, sellers have been trying to push through a price rise to $27.50 per kg, although consumers are reluctant to accept a price that high.

  • GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: Chinese producers raise battery-grade lithium carbonate offer prices; seaborne markets quiet

    Friday, 19 October 2018

    Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate offering prices increased in the week to Thursday October 18, supported on falling producer stocks, but reported concluded deals remained within Fastmarkets’ current price ranges.

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Features

  • Dissecting alumina supply

    Thursday, 06 September 2018

    The non-metallurgical alumina market is diverse and complex and, over the past year, its main sub-sectors have been under pressure from rising costs and hiccups in supply, limiting availability of white fused, alumina hydrate and calcined alumina to the wider market, independent consultant, Ted Dickson, discovers.

  • Out of the melting pot: A year of change in refractories

    Thursday, 06 September 2018

    After a year of reorganization and changing narratives in the refractories industry – from significant M&A activity to raw material price spikes, and from booming end-market demand to uncertainties in global trade – Industrial Minerals correspondent Myles McCormick takes stock of a changed landscape for companies operating in the sector.

  • Feeling the heat: Bauxite and alumina under pressure

    Friday, 26 January 2018

    China’s high-profile disruptions to industrial operations have wreaked havoc in the bauxite and alumina supply chains serving refractories end markets, taking prices to new highs.

  • 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.

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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