Bauxite mining in India
#GS-01 Human Geography
- Bauxite is raw material (ore) required for the production of aluminium.
- It does not denote a specific mineral but a rock consisting mainly of hydrated aluminium oxides.
Global Bauxite deposits
- Australia is the world’s leading producer of bauxite, and accounts for about 30% of total production, followed by China (25%), Brazil (14%), and India (8%).
- However, the largest Bauxite reserves are present in Guinea which has an estimated bauxite ore reserve of 4 billion tonnes.
- Australia meanwhile has the second largest amount of Bauxite reserves at 2 billion tonnes.
- China is the largest importer of Bauxite at about 110 million tonnes in 2021.
Bauxite deposits in India
- In India, Odisha is the largest producer of Bauxite which produces more than half of the country’s total production.
- The deposits of Bauxite are mainly located along laterite soils and seen as capping on hills and plateaus, except in coastal areas of Gujarat and Goa.
- Gujarat is the second-largest producer of bauxite in India, producing over 15% of the country’s total production.
- However, Andhra Pradesh has the second largest reserves of Bauxite in the country at about 16%.
Production of Aluminium from Bauxite:
- The production of Aluminium from Bauxite is divided into 2 stages.
- The first process is obtaining alumina from bauxite ore.
- This is done by treating Bauxite with concentrated sodium hydroxide.
- Soluble sodium aluminate which is then formed is filtered off.
- The filtrate is heated with water which gives aluminium hydroxide which on strong heating produces alumina.
- The manufacturing plants for this process are located near bauxite mines since they are a weight losing industry.
- The second process is the reduction of Alumina into Aluminium.
- The manufacturing plants for this process are located near the cheap source of electricity.
- For producing 1 ton of aluminum, 2 tons of alumina which in turn is produced from 6 tons of bauxite.