SHANGHAI, Dec. 15 (SMM) -- According to statistics, Chinese alumina producers’ dependence on imported bauxite once exceeded 50% in 2011, with the dependence even reaching 66% in September. Meanwhile, the grade and reserves of domestic bauxite are falling gradually. Decreasing domestic bauxite resources and increasing dependence on imported bauxite create a huge risk for the sustainable development of alumina producers.
Bauxite resources will become the bottleneck of the development of alumina industry. One large enterprise with alumina capacity of 400,000 mt/yr told SMM that local high-grade bauxite resources (Al/Si ratio greater than 8) are gradually depleted, creating the risk of raw material shortage for the enterprise.
The head of the Department of Mineral Resources of the enterprise said local high-grade bauxite resources are gradually depleted with the development of local alumina, refractory material, high-aluminum cement and other industries despite that the bauxite reserves in Henan Province are in the leading position in China. The bauxite resources have been severely damaged by the previous disorder, excessive and illegal exploration models, so the large-scale production of local high-grade bauxite has been unlikely and local alumina producers have to use low-grade bauxite (Al/Si ratio between 5-6) as raw materials. In this context, alumina producers have to mix raw materials with bauxite in different grades, which will increase alumina production costs.