Bauxite Mining Market: Overview

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.

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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.

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.

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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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Bauxite Mining Market: Drivers

End-use applications of bauxite are chemical industry, refractory, abrasive, cement, steel, and others. Bauxite as well as alumina are used in the manufacture of aluminum chemicals. The direct use of bauxite in chemicals is for the production of aluminum sulfate, which is used as flocculating agent in water and effluent treatment. Aluminum tristrearate is used as textile finishing agent, lubricating grease, and gelling agent.

Bauxite is used as raw material in making refractory products since it has high melting point. Refractory grade bauxite is used in the manufacture of bricks to line the roof of electric arc steel making furnaces, blast furnace, and stoves. In the abrasive industry, abrasive grains are produced by fusion of either chemically purified alumina or calcined bauxite. The white fused alumina abrasive is used in loose abrasive applications such as grinding and polishing.

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Cement is manufactured by mixing selected quality of bauxite and limestone. High alumina cement is known for its quality of rapid setting time and strength. It is also resistant to sulfate and dilute acids present in soil. Thus, it can be used in concrete piles, tunnels, and masonry exposed to water. In the steel industry, bauxite is primarily employed in iron making. It is added to control the desulfurizing power and fluidity of the slag. At the same time, it also provides material for blast furnace cement. The other end use application consists of s such as rubber, plastic and paint industries.

Bauxite Mining Market: Regional Outlook

Based on region, the global bauxite mining market can be segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is expected to account for major share of the market during the forecast period. It is anticipated to be followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. Demand for bauxite in Asia Pacific is increasing due to the rise in demand of aluminum. The bauxite mining market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is also estimated to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period.

Bauxite Mining Market: Key Players

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.