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close this bookMining in Africa Today - Strategies and Prospects (UNU, 1987, 91 pages)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
close this folder1. Deficit in the north, specialization in the south
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMineral specialization in Africa
View the documentMining countries and mineral specialization
View the document2. Africa in world mining geography
close this folder3. Trends in mineral specialization
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View the documentAfrica's specialization and world demand
close this folder4. Control of the world mineral industry
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View the documentThe aluminium oligopoly
View the documentThe copper oligopoly
View the documentConcentration in the iron and uranium sectors
View the document5. The technology of mining and metallurgy
close this folder6. The strategies of transnationals
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTechnological strategies
View the documentInvestment diversification strategies
View the documentCollective investments
View the documentFinance strategies
View the document7. Control of African mineral fields
View the document8. Mine rents and mineral prices
close this folder9. Mining or industrialization specialization?
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe unbalanced processing of copper in Africa
View the documentBauxite processing and aluminium production in Africa
View the documentIron ore export and steel production
View the document10. The myth of relocation
View the document11. Conclusion

Bauxite processing and aluminium production in Africa

Aluminium consumption is extremely low in Africa, outside South Africa, and is mainly concentrated in North Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. Consumption levels are, however, far from those of developed countries (22 kilograms per head in the USA, 15 in Japan, 7 in France and in the USSR).

Aluminium production in Africa is about three times higher than consumption, but while the former is, for the most part, exported, the latter is covered mainly by imports. Africa's relative shares in world output are 14% for bauxite, 0.02% for alumina and 2.6% for aluminium. Although exceeding the domestic needs, aluminium output is well below the level which could be reached by processing all local bauxite, and this applies to an ever greater extent to alumina. Also, the fact that aluminium production is higher than the production of alumina implies that the former depends on imported alumina. While the aluminium refineries of Ghana, Egypt, and Cameroun import alumina, the bauxite producers export their production in a raw form.

There are, however, important investment projects for aluminium, in Guinea, of course, but also in Cameroun, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zaire and Madagascar. The most advanced are on the bauxite fields of Tougue, Dabola and Ayekoye in Guinea. The size of each of these projects is equivalent to present African consumption, therefore even their partial implementation will increase the aluminium surplus of the continent and substitute the export of aluminium (and/or alumina) for that of bauxite.

Table 9.2 World production of aluminium: relative share in world output (%)


Bauxite

Alumina

Aluminium

Bauxite exporting countries:





Guinea

14.2

0.02

0


Jamaica

13

7

0


Surinam

6.2

4

0


Australia

28.7

22

0.02

Bauxite importing countries:





USSR

7.9

10.7

15.7


USA

2

20

29.7


Japan

0

5 7

7 3


West Germany

0

5

5


Canada

0

3 4

7.1


Norway

0

0

4 5

Source: Metal Bulletin and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 1985.

Production of alumina and aluminium is heavily concentrated in developed countries which are the main consumers. They import alumina to produce aluminium and they import even greater quantities of bauxite to produce alumina. Australia, Surinam and Jamaica, unlike Guinea, however, process a good part of their bauxite output.