Aluminium is the third-most abundant element in the earth’s crust. There are various different minerals. Bauxite is the most common raw material used to produce alumina for aluminium metal production.
Bauxite deposits are mainly found in a wide belt around the equator. Hydro’s bauxite mines are located in the state of Pará, in the northernmost part of Brazil. A significant portion of Hydro’s bauxite is further processed in the company’s own plants, but some of it is also sold directly to other companies.
The raw material required to produce primary aluminium is aluminium oxide, also called alumina. It is a white powder produced by the refining of bauxite. Some two tonnes of alumina are needed to produce one tonne of aluminium through an electrolytic process. Alumina is also used for a number of other purposes, such as water purification and as an additive in various applications.
Hydro produces alumina at Hydro Alunorte in Brazil, the world’s largest alumina refinery. Some of this is used as a basis for Hydro’s own aluminium production, but much is sold to other companies.