Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, but does not occur as a metal naturally. The first step in producing aluminium is mining its ore – bauxite.
Bauxite occurs mainly in tropical and sub-tropical areas, like Africa, the West Indies, South America and Australia – there are some small deposits located in Europe.
Australia is the largest producer of bauxite, with five mines supplying around 23 per cent of global production.
Bauxite mining has five steps: Preparation of the mining area; bauxite mining; crushing; ore transport; and rehabilitation.