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Did you know that aluminium as we know it is not found like this naturally? Even though this handy material is found in over 250 different mineral compounds, it has to be extracted from bauxite, an ore that is mined worldwide. The process to extract the aluminium from its ore is a seemingly complex and time consuming one, and it goes as follows:
The first step in the process is to mine the bauxite from the earth, mostly from underground deposits (the largest ones can be found in Southern Europe and Hungary). The bauxite is blasted loose and washed to remove any excess clay.
The second step is known as the Bayer process, which involves a combination of a chemical extraction and a mechanical separation to extract alumina (the base from of aluminium) from the bauxite.
As you can see, the process used to extract aluminium from the bauxite ore it originates in is fairly complex and requires a number of different machines in order to be completed. Whilst the biggest aluminium manufacturing plants are located in Europe, they do exist here in Australia, just not on the same large scale due to our smaller deposits.