Characterising bauxite’s future
Cape Alumina CEO Dr Paul Messenger says China’s emergence as a dominant player in the market is changing the traditional alumina/aluminium industry and creating opportunities for Cape Alumina to become recognised as a supplier of metallurgical-grade bauxite.
One component of securing the company’s reputation has been its use of the Parker Centre for independent characterisation work.
“Through its work we have been able to gain a good understanding of the mineralogy and metallurgical characteristics of the resources we have,” Dr Messenger says.
Dr Messenger says this helps identify key markets and in turn provide investors and potential customers with a higher level of comfort in the company.
One of the key results of the work the company did with the Parker Centre was confirming the low boehmite content of Cape Alumina’s ores at Wenlock, on Cape York, north Queensland. Dr Messenger says the results showed the ores were predominantly gibbsitic (at 65 per cent) with low boehmite (less than four per cent), meaning the bauxite could be washed and shipped directly to China.
CSIRO Minerals’ Dr Peter Smith, who worked with Cape Alumina on the project, says a range of characterisation techniques help uncover what mineral phases are in a sample and in what quantities. Grades are then confirmed through chemical extractions.
“Once we’ve characterised a sample, we then determine the ‘processability’ under planned refinery conditions. This can help companies better understand the economics of their deposit,” Dr Smith says.
The full story can be found in the June issue of Process, which will be released on Monday 25 June 2007. A pdf of the magazine is available now at: www.csiro.au/files/Publications/CSIRO_Process_0706.pdf
Other stories in Process include:
Characterisation helps alumina prospects shine: work on projects such as the Aurukun deposit in Queensland could help ensure Australia remains the world’s top alumina producer.
Mapping the mineralogy of meteorites: research into the mineralogy and structure of meteorites could provide insight into the history of the solar system.
Diffraction technique gains environmental clients: minerals processing technology is helping a diverse range of companies from those in the environmental sector to ice-cream producers.
Lasers lead way to efficiency gains: researchers are using laser flash techniques to characterise the thermal properties of promising new cell linings for aluminium production.
$A15M centre to enhance hydrometallurgy research: the Australian Minerals Research Centre aims to coordinate Australia’s hydrometallurgical research efforts.
Optics optimise downstream processes: understanding and predicting the behaviour of fine iron ores can help improve a range of downstream processes economically and environmentally.
- One component of securing the company’s reputation has been its use of the Parker Centre for independent characterisation work
- Through its work we have been able to gain a good understanding of the mineralogy and metallurgical characteristics of the resources we have