Affect Of Chinese High Alumina Calcined Bauxite On World Supplies And Prices - Introduction - Preprint 09-033

Heivilin, F.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2009
Little did I know, in 1977, that when the A. P. Green Refractories Raw Material Manager showed me 5-6 burlap bags with samples of calcined high alumina bauxite in their testing lab that this was the start of China moving to be the number one user and producer of calcined refractory bauxite. According to Ted Dickson in his August 2008 Industrial Minerals article China produced about 4 million tons of calcined bauxite in 2007 using 2 million tons themselves. They imposed an export limitation of 970,000 tons in 2007 and 940,000 tons in 2008. A 10% growth will take up the difference between exports and production in 4 years. Two of these years are gone. It will take only 4 more years to eliminate the export quota in home use. Then they will be importing unless they increase production. Guyana was exporting over a half million tons in 1975 and sold less than 70,000 tons in 2002. Basai Metals Group bought Guyana?s deposits and is rose to 250,000 tons in 2007 and expects to produce 280,000 tons in 2008. PRICES According to the USGS Prices dropped from $172/per ton for Guyana calcines in 1980 just after the start of Chinese production to $122 in 1985. Guyana prices averaged around $120/ton from 1985 to 2005. China?s price dropped as low as $45/ton in 1995 undercutting Guyana and making it virtually impossible for anyone to get into the market. The price suddenly escalated to $550/ton FOB China in the summer of 2008 when China actually cut its exports in half. The price dropped in the fall as orders dropped. This is a four to five fold price increase. Is this a shortage of bauxite or a monopoly? Australia dropped out of the market in 2008 and Surinam, controlled by Alcoa, is not participating right now. Will these two come back in to make up the difference? Will the price hold up so they can make a profit? [ ] The low prices have undoubtedly affected the prices of the 60 and 79% alumina bauxite which can hold down the quantity of 80% plus calcined refractory needed in the world market. China is starting to upgrade lower quality bauxite up to 90% alumina. With high prices kaolin alteration to high alumina comes into play. The calcined bauxite is also used for proponents, Brown fused alumina, and abrasive grades which compete with Refractories. These and the tightness of supplies needed for metallurgical will hold prices up. TONNAGE China is the number one supplier and consumer of high alumina calcined bauxite in the world. Basai Metals Group Guyana (BMGG) is owned and controlled by Basai Minerals Group of China. This appears to be the second largest supplier. Australia has dropped production and Brazil is just starting to expand. It appears China is going to replace some of exports caused by the Export License 940,000 ton maximum in 2008 by raising Guyana?s (BMGG) production of calcined refractory grade bauxite. Companies exceeded restriction in 2007. Fines have been imposed for 2008. In August 2008 they appear on line to meet the 2008 quota. After August prices have dropped off as orders dropped due to the recession. Guyana was the largest producer in 1975 with 769,000 tons which decreased to less than 79,000 tons in 2002. The U. S. is a small part of the world production. I have used the United States charts to represent world imports because I have little data on what other countries import and pay FOB for their bauxite. China started exporting calcined 80% plus refractory bauxite to the United States in 1979 with 24,000 tons. By 1985 they were the number one importer with 169,000 tons. Guyana who had been number one in shipments to the United States gradually decreased to 36,000 tons in 2006. Guyana has been purchased by China BMGG and will increase there production to over 200,000 tons in 2009. Australia shut down production in 2008 and Surinam has elected to not send any Calcined bauxite to the United States. Imports to the United States from 1978 to present are as follows: [ ] Refractories are important because they affect 96% of the GNP. During the cold war we had stockpiles of 80% refractory grade bauxite
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