There are currently five bauxite mines in Australia providing feedstock for the seven alumina refineries, which in turn supply alumina to the six Australian aluminium smelters and the export market. Australia is the largest producer of bauxite in the world, with 74.9 million tonnes produced in 2011.
The five Australian bauxite mines are:
- Boddington (Western Australia) – South32 – Worsley Alumina
- Gove (Northern Territory) – Rio Tinto Aluminium
- Huntly (Western Australia) – Alcoa of Australia
- Willowdale (Western Australia) – Alcoa of Australia
- Weipa (Queensland) – Rio Tinto Aluminium
The Gove and Weipa deposits have close to 50 percent available alumina and are amongst the world’s highest grade deposits. However, the Western Australian deposits in the Darling Range and the undeveloped Mitchell Plateau are relatively low grade, at around 30 percent available alumina.
Most Australian deposits have the disadvantage of being relatively high in silica, which requires the use of higher amounts of caustic soda, raising alumina refining costs. However, the Australian deposits are shallow and relatively easy to mine.
For information on Australian bauxite residue, please download the Australian Bauxite Residue fact sheet.
Click for information from the International Aluminium Institute on best practice in the management of bauxite residue.