Formed from the Earth
Aluminum is the third most common element, accounting for 8 percent of the earth’s crust, and is the most commonly occurring metal. The most important aluminum-bearing mineral is bauxite, a red-colored sediment.
Bauxite ore can be found mainly in tropical or sub-tropical areas such as Africa, Australia, South America and the West Indies. It is commonly extracted by open-cast mining (see bellow).
Bauxite contains up to 50 percent aluminum oxide - or alumina - the basic raw material for the production of aluminum. Alumina is refined in a two-stage process in which bauxite is subjected to heat and pressure in a solution of caustic soda. Then, by means of electrolysis, this starting material is reduced to oxygen and molten aluminum. It is this metallic aluminum which is used in the production of semi-finished products.
Aluminium has excellent recycling properties. Only 5 percent of the energy that is initially required to produce the primary metal is required to remelt it. And the metal's original properties are retained in the remelting process
How much bauxite does it take to produce one kilogram of aluminum?
4kg bauxite ->2kg alumina ->1kg aluminum
Part of Hydro’s active environmental work is the restoration of the areas around mines after bauxite extraction. Furthermore, we are constantly investigating new ways to utilize recycled aluminum, in order to avoid further mining of primary (new) metals.