Bauxite Production Expected to Decline Marginally due to COVID-19 Measures

GlobalData predicts a decline of 0.1% in global bauxite mine production in 2020. The decline, which is about 344 megatons, is as a result of the short-term suspension of mining activity following the exponential rise in cases of COVID-19 around the world.

Australia, the biggest bauxite producer in the world, could see an increase of 1.9%, roughly 107.2 kilotons, this year. This is largely due to the effective measures that were taken by the Australian government to limit the transmission of the virus during the early stages.

During the first half of 2020, the largest contributor to bauxite mining in Australia, Rio Tinto, announced that production was 24.8megatons, an 8% increase, in comparison to the production of the first half of 2019. They cite growth in production from the Arum mine as the main contributor to the rise.

Additionally, a rise of 6.5% in bauxite production is expected this year from India, which is the fifth biggest producer in the world. This is mainly due to bauxite’s exemption from the country’s 3-week lockdown period.

In China, a decrease of 1.8% is predicted for 2020, even with mines having been operating at full capacity from mid-April.

Furthermore, a 4.2% decline in Brazil’s output is forecasted this year. The depletion of ore grades is the main contributing factor to the decline.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many other countries that produce bauxite on a small scale. This includes Ghana, Jamaica, Guyana, Kazakhstan and Russia. Collectively, they made up 10.8% of bauxite production globally last year. This year, output is expected to decrease to 33.8megatons, a drop from 37megatons, therefore causing their collective production rate to decline to 9.8%.

However, during the forecast period of 2021-2024, growth in production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.8%, reaching 387.4megatons by the year 2024. Guinea, Australia and India are cited to be the main contributors. Besides this, the forecast also shows the output of these countries’ markets increasing from 226.8megatons in the year 2021 to 258.8megatons in the year 2024.

Next year, operations in projects such as the Kindia project in Guinea, are expected to begin. Wholly owned by Anglo-African Minerals, the project is projected to generate saleable production capacity of up to 5megatons annually.

Also in Guinea, regulatory permissions and approvals have concluded for the Garafiri project. The project, whose construction will begin next year, has an estimated saleable production capacity of 3megatons a year. Production is expected to begin during 2022’s third quarter.

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