In recent years, with the continuous expansion of the scale of alumina, the demand for bauxite has increased rapidly, increasing to more than 100 million tons in 2011, and reaching a new level in 2018 to more than 200 million tons. Due to lack of domestic resources and poor endowment, China’s aluminum industry relies heavily on imported resources for production. In the past ten years or so, China’s mining structure has undergone significant changes. Before 2005, China mainly imported alumina directly, and its dependence on bauxite was low. As China’s alumina production capacity using imported ore continued to expand, China’s demand for imported ore continued to increase. In 2021, China’s alumina production capacity will be 90.15 million tons/year, of which the alumina production capacity using imported ore will be 42.1 million tons/year, accounting for 46.7%; the alumina production capacity using domestic ore will be 48.05 million tons/year, accounting for 53.3. %. The demand for imported ore is 117 million tons, the demand for domestic ore is 110 million tons, the demand for imported ore accounts for 52%, and the demand for domestic ore accounts for 48%.
Alumina production is a resource-intensive industry. The production area is mainly arranged around bauxite resources, with distinctive geographical characteristics. China’s alumina production is mainly distributed in 8 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in Shandong, Shanxi, Henan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Chongqing, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia. Among them, the production of enterprises in Guizhou and Yunnan are mainly domestic mines; the production of enterprises in Shandong and Chongqing are mainly imported mines; the production capacity of enterprises in Shanxi, Henan, Guangxi and Inner Mongolia regions using imported mines has also increased year by year in recent years.
The use of imported mines is divided into two types. One is to take advantage of the port and use imported mines for production. These production capacities are mainly distributed in Shandong, Guangxi and Inner Mongolia. Most of the alumina projects currently under construction or proposed follow this model; The other is through technological transformation, so that the production capacity that originally used domestic mines began to use imported mines for production. These production capacities are mainly concentrated in Henan, Shanxi and Chongqing. According to Antaike’s statistics, the imported mine production capacity transformed since 2018 has reached 12 million tons per year, accounting for 28.5% of the imported mine production capacity.
According to the tracking and forecasting of new projects in 2022, it is estimated that 6.6 million tons of new domestic projects will be completed in 2022. Most of the projects are located in coastal port areas and mainly use imported mines. Among them, the three companies that are determined to be put into operation in the first half of 2022 include Bosai, Tiangui, and Hebei Wenfeng, with a total production capacity of 5.2 million tons. In addition to the current domestic production capacity of imported ore, it is estimated that my country’s alumina production capacity using imported ore will total 47.3 million tons in 2022, and the demand for imported ore is expected to be 132 million tons.
On the other hand, domestic bauxite has a poor endowment. After years of large-scale mining, domestic ore resources can no longer support the huge aluminum industrial production. At the same time, the normalization of environmental protection pressure has also imposed great constraints on mining activities, which will not be ruled out in the future. Enterprises in Jinyu region continue to increase the use of imported mine production capacity. It is reported that Jinjiang Group will continue to increase the use of imported ore capacity through technological transformation. The demand for imported ore from its alumina plants is expected to reach 12 million tons in 2022, an increase of about 4 million tons from 2021.
In summary, the demand for imported bauxite in my country in 2022 is expected to increase by about 20% year-on-year.