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New Shape for the Bauxite and Alumina Industry

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LONDON, January 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Bauxite and Alumina 8th Edition

The shape and dynamics of the global bauxite and alumina industry are changing, according to a new report from Roskill. New alumina refining and bauxite production capacity will boost supply over the next five years to meet the rising demand for aluminium, mainly from China, but also other growth areas such as the Middle East and India. The influence of China has changed the dynamics of the bauxite and alumina markets, and this will continue over the next five years.

Production increases in Asia

World production of bauxite and alumina is growing. The latest report from Roskill details how Australia is the largest producer of bauxite, accounting for nearly 70Mt in 2011, but that production in China, Indonesia and India has grown.  Asia now accounts for 45% of global supply, compared with 16% a decade ago. This growth in non-captive bauxite production has led to sharp increases in shipped and traded bauxites, changing the dynamics of the marketplace.

Global alumina production increased from 80Mt to 96Mt between 2007 and 2011, with most of the supply increase from China, which is now the largest producer.  More refinery capacity is planned over the next three years, with another 14Mt in China alone.  If it is all commissioned as scheduled, then the market will be oversupplied in the short term, until demand from the aluminium industry catches up.

Chinese seeking bauxite

Domestic supply issues are pushing Chinese alumina producers to source their bauxite overseas, often in the form of joint venture companies or acquisitions. New operations and projects are underway in countries such as Australia, Guinea, Ghana, Indonesia and Fiji, which are all described in the new report.

New trade patterns emerge

The growth in Chinese demand for bauxite has seen a significant rise in imports over the last five years, mainly from Indonesia, but also from Australia. Total Chinese imports have risen from 9Mt in 2006 to 45Mt in 2011.  In early 2012, the Indonesian government shook the industry by announcing curbs on exports of unprocessed minerals, which is being phased in over the next two years. As a result, Indonesian bauxite exports to China fell to an estimated 28Mt, down from 36Mt in 2011. This will provide opportunities for other bauxite producers currently planning expansions and new projects in other countries to step in.

Aluminium - short term woes?

The aluminium industry is the key driver for the bauxite and alumina industry, with some 94% of alumina converted into aluminium.  Globally production of aluminium has grown by an average of 6.6% between 2002 and 2011, but by 18.4% in China. However, consumption has grown by a slightly more modest 5.9%. Inventories overhang the market, and throughout 2013 the industry will be stretched by rising production costs and low prices. Despite this present malaise, the aluminium industry is positive about its future, predicting rising consumption growth through to 2020, mostly due to increased industrialisation and urbanisation in emerging economies.

Non-metallurgical bauxite - supply concerns

Concerns remain in the industry over the availability and security of supply of calcined bauxites, as there are relatively few producers. Calcined bauxites are used principally in the refractories and abrasives industries. New sources of supply and expansions in Guyana and Brazil may ease fears of future shortages going forward. European supply of non-metallurgical bauxites has increased over the last five years, mainly through growing production in Greece, Turkey and Russia.

Market growth for non-metallurgical grades

Both bauxite and alumina are used for non-metallurgical applications, and in these sectors growth prospects are more mixed. Refractory grade bauxite is predicted to have moderate growth over the next five years, largely linked to the fortunes of the iron and steel industry, while markets such as proppants will exhibit a stronger growth profile, due to the expansion of shale gas production.

Chemical grade aluminas outlook positive

Around 6% of the total alumina produced is chemical grade. This is then split between calcined alumina markets and speciality grade alumina markets, which includes alumina trihydrate (ATH). Calcined alumina is used in a wide spectrum of end uses with the total market forecast to grow to 3.1Mt by 2017. ATH is either used in speciality applications such as fillers and flame retardants or as commodity grades used in water treatment, zeolite manufacture and in aluminium fluoride. Roskill forecasts growth for ATH markets, especially in water treatment and flame retardant markets to take the total market size to over 4.6Mt by 2017.

Bauxite & Alumina: Global industry markets and outlook, 8th Edition, 2012 is available at £3500 / US$5800 / €4600 from Roskill Information Services Ltd, 54 Russell Road, London SW19 1QL ENGLAND. Tel: +44-20-8417-0087. Fax +44-20-8417-1308 Email: info@roskill.co.uk  Web: http://www.roskill.com/

Note to editors

Roskill Information Services Ltd. of London, UK is a leading provider of multi-client and bespoke market research services to the minerals and metals industry.

The new Bauxite and Alumina report contains 417 pages, 198 tables and 111 figures plus an appendix of international trade statistics.  It provides a detailed review of the industry, with subsections on the activities of the leading producing companies. It also analyses consumption, trade and prices.

For further information on this report, please contact Alison Saxby, asaxby@roskill.co.uk or +44-20-8417-0087.

SOURCE Roskill Information Services



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