BAUXITE

Bauxite is a naturally occurring, heterogeneous material composed primarily of one or more aluminum hydroxide minerals, plus various mixtures of silica, iron oxide, titania, alumina silicate, and other impurities in minor or trace amounts. The principal aluminum hydroxide minerals found in varying proportions with bauxites are gibbsite and the polymorphs boehmite and diaspore. Bauxites are typically classified according to their intended commercial application: abrasive, cement, chemical, metallurgical, refractory, etc. The bulk of world bauxite production (approximately 85%) is used as feed for the manufacture of alumina via a wet chemical caustic leach method commonly known as the Bayer process. Subsequently, the majority of the resulting alumina produced from this refining process is in turn employed as the feedstock for the production of aluminum metal by the electrolytic reduction of alumina.