SHANGHAI, Aug 5 (SMM) – China’s imports of bauxite in the first six months of the year expanded about 40% from a year ago, as demand was bolstered by greater domestic alumina production and tighter domestic ore supply.
The latest Customs data under 2606000000 showed that China imported 9.3 million mt of bauxite in June, down 4.17% from May but up 33.17% from June 2018.
This brought imports in January-June to 56.33 million mt, with a year-over-year increase of 39.26%.
The Republic of Guinea, Australia and Indonesia remained the top three bauxite exporters to China, and volumes from them accounted for 93.7% of the total in the first half of the year.
Guinea, a major source of gibbsite bauxite used in low-temperature production lines, is likely to remain the largest bauxite exporter to China.
Australian diaspore was used by inland alumina refiners to meet production demand amid tight supplies of domestic materials.
Imports of Indonesian bauxite maintained stable growth after the country revived exports in July 2017.
SMM learned that Chalco Zhongzhou, SPIC Shanxi Aluminum and Henan Wanji transported some of their alumina production lines to low-temperature mode.
East Hope’s Jinzhong plant, Chalco Mining and Guizhou Qiya adopted the sweetening process, while Guangxi Xinfa, Shanxi Fusheng and Xing’an Chemical used mixed ores.
SMM data showed that about 73.1 million mt on an annualised basis of alumina capacity was in operation in China in June. Output of metallurgical-grade alumina is expected to rise to 5.94 million mt in July.