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What Is Bauxite And Where Do I Use It?

  • Bauxite is a usually found as a reddish-brown sedimentary rock compromised from a group of aluminium oxides. It usually occurs at the top-soil (2-5m from the surface).

  • It is the main source of alumina and other minerals such as gibbsite (gibbsite (alumina tri-hydrate), boehmite and diaspore (alumina monohydrates).

  • These minerals, after processing result in aluminium. Hence, bauxite is the main source of global aluminium production.

  • Bauxite is named after the village of Les Baux in France, where it was discovered in 1821.

  • Besides being the main source of aluminium, bauxite is also used as an abrasive and for hydraulic fracking in oil discovery.

  • Bauxite is also the main source Gallium (Ga, periodic number 31), which is used in electronics.


Where is Bauxite Produced?

  • Bauxite is primarily found in a wide belt across the equator. In 2018, the worldwide production was around 250 million tonnes.

  • In 2018, Australia was the leading producer of bauxite (86,000 tonnes), followed by China (79,000 tonnes) and Guinea (57,000). Besides these three main producers, Brazil (29,000 tonnes) and India (23,000) are also major producers of bauxite.

  • The only major EU producer of bauxite is Greece, with production of around 18,000 tonnes per year.

  • Production has been growing at the annual rate of 5% in 2010s, but the COVID-19 is likely to contribute to decreased production, since growth is mostly driven by Chinese demand.

  • Current bauxite reserves are estimated to be between 55 to 75 billion metric tonnes, which are estimated to last for centuries.


How much does it cost?

  • The price of bauxite is currently around $380 (€320) per tonne, a drop from the high of $480 (€405) per tonne in 2017.

  • While bauxite is heavily tied to aluminium production, the developments of it price tend to be independent from the aluminium prices.



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