Abstract

The raw-material base of the Russian aluminum industry is considered. The raw materials include common (bauxites, nepheline syenites) and uncommon (nepheline ores, synnyrites, anorthosites, power-and-heating plant ashes, kaolines) types of ores. With regard to many criteria (reserves and quality of ores, technology of their processing, etc.), the problem of alumina deficit can be solved by mining sillimanite group minerals Al2SiO5 (wt.%: Al2O3 = 62.9, SiO2 = 37.1), namely, andalusite, sillimanite, and kyanite. Their proved reserves converted to the final product (aluminum) exceed 400 mln tons. This will be enough for more than a hundred years provided that aluminum is produced in the present-day output (4 mln tons in 2008). Almost all deposits can be explored by strip mining, with application of the gravitation, flotation, and electromagnetic separation methods for ore dressing. The alumina content in concentrates reaches 60–62 wt.%. Only high-grade bauxites and the above concentration methods can ensure such a high yield of Al2O3. Sillimanite group minerals can be processed together with nepheline ores by sintering or be used for the direct electrothermal production of silumin and aluminum, excluding the alumina production stage. The latter method is the most promising in Russia.

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