Aluminium and refractory industries are consuming huge quantities of bauxite in its various metallurgical and refractory grades. 250 million tonnes per year are exploited in the world, of which 10 million tonnes belongs to the non-metallurgical grade and will be transformed into 4 million tonnes of calcined Bauxite, the raw material used in the manufacture of high-demand refractory bricks. The mines that supply the global production of refractory grade bauxite are located in China (95%) and Guyana (5%), placing the European Union in a critical position concerning this raw material. Therefore, Europe is forced to import 0.5 million tonnes of calcined Bauxite per year.
In recent years, restrictive Asian environmental policies have led to volatility of prices and instability in the supply of raw materials. Therefore, aligned with the three essential pillars of the European Raw Material Initiative, bauxite as a mineral resource is close to being considered a critical raw material (CRM) for Europe. The refractory market in Europe is estimated at 3.5 billion euros per year, so the continuity of this problem means a loss of competitiveness of European refractory companies.