Bauxite

Mixture of Iron and Aluminium Hydroxides/Oxides Al, Fe, O, OH Bauxite does not require complex processing because most of the bauxite mined is of an acceptable grade or can be improved by a relatively simple and inexpensive process of removing clay.

BAUXITE is a naturally occurring, heterogeneous material composed primarily of one or more aluminum hydroxide minerals, plus various mixtures of silica, iron oxide, titania, aluminosilicate, 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 in a molten bath of natural or synthetic cryolite (Na3AlF6), the Hall-Héroult process.

Formula

Al2O3 + SiO2 + TiO2 + Fe2O3

Traditional uses of bauxite

  • Blast Furnaces
  • Iron/Steel Ladles
  • Torpedo Cars
  • Electric Arc furnaces
  • Tundishes
  • Soaking Pits
  • Reheat/Soaking Pits
  • Open Hearth
  • Cement
  • Aluminum

Bauxite mining method

Eighty percent of world bauxite production, mainly from large blanket type deposits is from surface mines, with the rest, mainly from Southern Europe and Hungary, from underground excavations. On some surface deposits there is no overburden, and on others, the bauxite may be covered by 70 metres or more of rock and clay. Deposits that are hardened may require blasting in order to release the ore. Once the bauxite is loosened into manageable pieces it is generally loaded into trucks or railroad cars and transported to crushing or washing plants or to stockpiles. Underground bauxite mines are used to exploit pockets or beds of deposit between layers of carbonic rock. Water in flow is a problem in most underground operations and dewatering shafts are often drilled before mining begins.

Unlike the base metal ores, bauxite does not require complex processing because most of the bauxite mined is of an acceptable grade or can be improved by a relatively simple and inexpensive process of removing clay. In many bauxites, clay is removed by some combination of washing, wet screening and cycloning, even by hand picking or sorting.

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