PMR has released a new market study on “Bauxite Mining Market: Global Industry Analysis 2013-2017 and Forecast 2018–2026”, which does a deep dive analysis of the global bauxite mining market for the next eight years.

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SE Asia, China and Pacific to remain dominant bauxite markets

The report evaluates all key macroeconomic factors, discussing the dynamics in the global bauxite mining market and analysing the latest trends and opportunities across the value chain of the Bauxite Mining market.

According to the report, bauxite mining is projected to grow at a significant compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6 per cent and will reach more than US$20,661 million by the end of 2026. Asia Pacific is one of the most prominent regions in the global bauxite mining market. In terms of consumption, the region is estimated to hold more than a 79.3 per cent share in the global market by the end of 2028.

With the growing demand for aluminium products across the globe, bauxite activities will increase and are expected to gain significant traction in the coming years. Growing adoption of aluminium products across the globe, owing to their light weight and other such properties, will also be a key driver for the bauxite market.

Although bauxite is available in huge quantities across the globe, its mining and export patterns have changed significantly according to availability. Bauxite is majorly consumed in the manufacturing of alumina within the aluminium industry. Approximately 6.5 per cent of total bauxite produced is consumed in non-metallurgical applications, such as in abrasives, refractories, chemicals and others.

In the global market, some of the top bauxite mining countries are Australia, China, Guinea, Brazil and India. These countries are the top five bauxite mining countries, holding an 86.2 per cent share in the total global production of bauxite in 2017. Similarly, the top five bauxite consuming countries are China, Brazil, Australia, India and Russia, holding an 81 per cent share of total bauxite consumption in 2017.

Following a global primary aluminium production increase of 5.8 per cent in 2017, the outlook for the aluminium industry continues to be positive in spite of the ongoing political uncertainty due to various political stances, such as import tariffs by the US on aluminium, Brexit and concerns that China – as the world’s leading producer of aluminium and its semi-finished products – might increase its exports to the European markets.

Indonesia has re-entered the bauxite market after the ban imposed on the export in 2014, when the Indonesian government had banned the export to enhance its own smelting industry.

Malaysia is also expected to re-enter the market during the first half of 2019 after banning bauxite mining in 2015 with an aim to curb growing pollution due to sudden expansion in bauxite production in the country. The key reason behind this expansion of production in the country was to fill the supply gap in 2014 after the Indonesian government banned bauxite export.

Cited in local media, Xavier Jayakumar, Malaysia’s Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister, said the new government which took power last year has decided not to extend a moratorium that ends on 31 March 2019.

“Industry players can resume mining by April, but they must adhere to strict mining conditions,” he told AFP, adding the move was to allow Pahang to earn crucial extra revenue.

The announcement will also allow the export of approximately 432,000 tonnes of high-grade bauxite currently stored at Kuantan port on the South China Sea.

It is not clear whether the policy shift will lead to a new boom in bauxite mining in Malaysia, however, particularly as Indonesia started allowing exports again in 2017.

Bauxite mining can release carcinogenic heavy metals such as strontium, caesium and other harmful substances, as well as low levels of radiation.

Additional to the environmental and health complaints, critics of bauxite mining argued that most of the operations were illegal and “done amateurishly with no government oversight”.

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