Interactive Flowchart

Bauxite Mining

Bauxite is the primary ore from which aluminium metal is extracted.

Australia has the second largest reserves of bauxite in the world and is currently the leading producer (74.9 Mt in 2011).

Once the bauxite is mined from the surface, the land is rehabilitated.

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Alumina Refining

Alumina refineries process bauxite ore to produce alumina, which is then used to extract aluminium metal.

Australia is the second largest producer of alumina in the world (19.1 Mt in 2011).

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Aluminium Smelting

Aluminium smelters use an electrolytic process to extract aluminium metal from alumina.

Australia is currently the fifth largest producer of primary aluminium (1.96 Mt in 2011).

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Semi Fabrication and Products

Aluminium can be formed into a variety of products by extruding, rolling or casting. Australian operators provide products to key sectors of the market, including the construction, automotive and packaging sectors.

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Recycling

Aluminium is infinitely recyclable without any loss of its unique properties. Aluminium scrap is of high value, which is a key incentive for recycling and is why nearly 75 per cent of aluminium ever produced is still in use today. Globally, aluminium recycling rates tend to be high in transport and construction, and around 70 per cent for beverage cans.

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Bauxite Mining

Bauxite in Australia is almost always found near the surface, and is generally extracted using open cast (surface) mining. The processes involved include land clearing, removal of overburden where required, transport, and crushing. Inputs generally include energy in the form of transport fuels, electricity for crushers and conveyors, and water (for those mines that use beneficiation).

Alumina Refining

All Australian alumina refineries use the Bayer Process to extract alumina from the bauxite ore. Inputs typically include caustic soda, energy (to produce the required heat and steam for the process), flocculants (to assist the sedimentation process), and water (to recover the caustic soda for reuse).

Aluminium Smelting

Inputs into the primary aluminium smelting process include: alumina, cryolite (or bath – in which the alumina is dissolved at high temperature), coke and pitch (to form the anodes), refractory materials, graphitic cathodes, and electricity.

Semi Fabrication and Products

Downstream products and semi-fabrication use aluminium metal, energy and fuels.

Recycling Aluminium

Recycling uses both old and new scrap, as well as energy.

Bauxite Mining

Australian Bauxite Mines:

  • Gove – Northern Territory
  • Weipa – Queensland
  • Boddington – Western Australia
  • Huntly – Western Australia
  • Willowdale – Western Australia

Alumina Refining

Australian Alumina Refineries:

  • Gove – Northern Territory
  • Gladstone – Queensland
  • Yarwun – Queensland
  • Kwinana – Western Australia
  • Pinjarra – Western Australia
  • Wagerup – Western Australia
  • Worsley – Western Australia

Aluminium Smelting

Australian Aluminium Smelters:

  • Boyne Island – Queensland
  • Tomago – New South Wales
  • Point Henry – Victoria
  • Portland – Victoria
  • Bell Bay – Tasmania

Semi Fabrication and Products

Australian Extrusion Operations:

  • Ipswich – Queensland
  • Canning Vale – Western Australia
  • Campbellfield – Victoria
  • Angaston – South Australia
  • Penrith – New South Wales
  • Eagle Farm – Queensland
  • Smithfield – New South Wales
  • Lytton – Queensland
  • Dandenong – Victoria
  • Loganlea – Queensland
  • Laverton – Victoria
  • Hunter Valley – New South Wales

Australian Rolled Product Plants:

  • Yennora – New South Wales
  • Point Henry – Victoria

Recycling Aluminium

Australian Recycling Operations:

  • Yennora – New South Wales

Bauxite Mining

Approximate employment numbers:

  • Gove = 100
  • Weipa = 990
  • Boddington = 500
  • Huntly = 500
  • Willowdale = 500
  • TOTAL = 2,590

Alumina Refining

Approximate employment numbers:

  • Gove = 1,500
  • Yarwun = 700
  • QAL = 1,200
  • Kwinana = 1,000
  • Pinjarra = 1,000
  • Wagerup = 900
  • Worsley = 1,900
  • TOTAL = 8,200

Aluminium Smelting

Approximate employment numbers:

  • Point Henry = 600
  • Tomago = 1300
  • Bell Bay = 600
  • Boyne Island = 1200
  • Portland = 750
  • TOTAL = 4350

Semi Fabrication and Products

No data

Recycling

No data

Bauxite Mining

The majority of bauxite mined in Australia is used locally to produce alumina. In 2011 approximately 13 per cent (9.4 Mt) of Australia’s bauxite production was exported – valued at around $250 million.

Total production in 2011 was estimated to be 74.9 Mt.

Alumina Refining

Around 80 per cent of the alumina produced in Australia annually is exported to smelters around the world. In 2011, 15.3 Mt was exported valued at approximately $ 5.2 billion.

Total production in 2011 was estimated to be 19.6 Mt.

Aluminium Smelting

Around 80 per cent of Australia’s primary aluminium metal production is also exported. In 2011, 1.68 Mt of aluminium was exported valued at approximately $4.1 billion.

Total production in 2011 was estimated to be 1.96 Mt.

Semi Fabrication and Products

No data

Recycling Aluminium

In 2011, 0.19 Mt of aluminium scrap was exported, valued at approximately $360 million.

Bauxite Mining

Australian bauxite is mined using surface mining techniques with requirements for rehabilitation of the mined area.

Rehabilitation of our bauxite mining areas continues to be a central element of overall mine development across the industry and forms part of our licence to operate.

Alumina Refining

Australian alumina refineries are constantly looking for ways to minimise their environmental impact, with a focus on air emissions.

Part of this involves targeted programs which look at understanding and reducing noise and air emissions.

Aluminium Smelting

Australian aluminium smelters are committed to reducing all onsite emissions, including smelter-specific greenhouse gasses (for example, PFCs) and fluoride emissions.

Semi Fabrication and Products

Australian manufacturers of semi-fabricated products reuse ‘new scrap’ (i.e. offcuts) and comply with local waste and emission regulations.

Recycling

Recycling aluminium uses only 5 per cent of the energy required to make new metal from bauxite.

Bauxite Mining Alumina Refining Semi-fabrication and Products Recycling Aluminium Smelting