September 23, 2019

Bauxite Mining Market : Status and Forecast, by Players, Types and Applications 2026

Bauxite is a silt rock, which consists of high aluminum content. It is the primary source of aluminum in the world. Bauxite primarily comprises minerals such as boehmite, gibbsite, hematite, goethite, ilmenite, and anatase. It is usually found near the surface of the terrain; hence, strip mining, a type of surface mining, is carried out. Strip mining is the process of mining a layer of mineral by initially removing long strip of overlying rock and soil. Then, the layer of mineral is taken out.

Nearly 70% to 80% of bauxite is first processed into alumina and then into aluminum by the process of electrolysis. Bauxite rocks are segregated according to commercial applications such as cement, abrasive, chemical, refractory, and metallurgical. Bauxite is also a secondary source of the rare metal gallium. It is obtained while processing of bauxite to alumina.

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Bauxite is primarily found in subtropical and tropical regions. The following steps are involved in the extraction of bauxite: selection of bauxite area, mining, crushing, ore transportation, and recovery of land. Generally, one metric ton of aluminum can be extracted from one square meter of land.

After mining, the bauxite ore is heated and processed in a pressure vessel along with sodium hydroxide at a temperature of 140°C to 300°C. The aluminum is dissolved in sodium aluminate this process is known as bayer process. The quantity of gibbsite, diaspora, or boehmite in the ore will state the extraction condition. After extraction of aluminum compounds, the undissolved waste consists of silica, iron oxide, titania, calcia, and some amount of unreacted alumina. Gibbsite is converted into aluminum oxide in a steel cylinder that rotates inside a heated furnace and performs indirect high-temperature processing at 1000°C. The processed molten mixture is then passed through electric current. This yields metallic aluminum.

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Major companies operating in the global bauxite mining market include Aluminium Corp, Access Industries, Tata Steel, Alcoa Corporation, Tajik Aluminium Company, Mitsubishi Aluminum Co.,Ltd., Queensland Alumina Limited, Australian Bauxite Limited, and Alumina.