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August 30, 2021updated 03 Feb 2022 7:21am

Global bauxite supply to grow by 3.8% in 2021 as output jumps in Guinea and Australia

After rising by an estimated 1.2% in 2020 to 359.2Mt, global bauxite production is forecast to increase by 3.8% in 2021 to reach 372.8Mt.

By GlobalData

Increased output from mines in Australia (+4.1%) and Guinea (+3.6%) as well as production from mines elsewhere returning to the pre-Covid-19 levels, will be the key contributors.

In Australia, bauxite production growth will be supported by the recommencement of Metro Mining ’s Bauxite Hills mine, where operations were halted due to the wet season. The mine is expected to produce around 4Mt of bauxite in 2021. Further, the formal commitment of the stage 2 expansion of the mine to a capacity of 6Mt, which is part of the company’s long-term development plan, will be dependent on the global market conditions.

In Guinea, the Boffa mine, which began operations in January 2020, is expected to gradually reach its full capacity during the second half of 2021. The mine is expected to produce up to 9Mt of bauxite in 2021, compared with 7Mt in 2020. Earlier in 2021, operations began at the Garafiri project which has over 300Mt of bauxite reserves. The project has an initial production capacity of 3Mt which will be expanded up to 8Mt.

In late July 2021, China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) announced completion of the construction of a railway line from Boffa to Boke, which will now increase the single trip freight volume to 10kt, up from 5kt earlier, as part of the first phase of the Boke development project. Phases 2 and 3 include exploitation of bauxite resources in the new mining areas of Santou II and Houda and development of an alumina refinery in the Boke special economic zone. Overall, this will play a crucial role in establishing Guinea as an export nation.

Over the forecast period (2021-2025), global bauxite production is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.2% to reach 406.7kt by 2025. Australia (+1.6%) and Guinea (+6.5%) will maintain a steady supply growth, supported by a series of upcoming projects. Together, they account for 8 of the 17 planned bauxite projects, tracked by GlobalData, which have the potential to commence production by 2025.

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