Top 5 alumina producers that keep the China market ahead

AL Circle

China is the highest alumina producer, contributing around 58 per cent of the world’s output. According to the International Aluminium Institute survey, China produced 82.27 million tonnes of alumina in 2023, up by 3.15 per cent from 79.76 million tonnes in 2022. With this annual hike, China’s 2023 alumina output exceeded the pre-COVID level and further solidified its position as the world’s largest ore producer. As a consequence of the COVID-19 impacts, China’s alumina production decreased year-on-year in the previous three years by about 2 per cent but rebounded in 2023, surpassing 81.469 million tonnes of production in 2019.

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Advanced technologies like the Bayer-Lurgi combined process and dry bauxite digestion helped China optimise resource utilisation and boost production. By the end of 2023, China’s installed alumina capacity had reached 100 million tonnes, with an operating capacity of 80.04 million tonnes. Shandong, Shanxi, and Henan were the top three alumina-producing Chinese provinces in 2023. The top companies are, subsequently, from these Chinese parts. Here is a list of the top five alumina producers from China.

1) Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chinalco and also known as Chalco)

Aluminium Corporation of China Limited is China’s largest and the world’s second-largest alumina producer, having an annual production capacity of 22.26 million tonnes (as of December 31, 2022), which exceeds internal alumina demand for aluminium production. The group owns the maximum number of alumina refineries in China, such as Guizhou Alumina, Pingguo Alumina, Shandong Alumina, Zhengzhou and Zhongzhou Alumina Refinery, and Shanxi Alumina. In June 2023, the company announced that its board of directors approved its majority-owned subsidiary Guangxi Huasheng New Materials Co., Ltd. to build two alumina production lines with an annual capacity of 1 million tonnes each, with an investment of approximately RMB 4.3 billion.

According to a report till December 31, 2022, Chalco’s Zhangzhou Aluminium has the highest capacity of 3.050 million tonnes, followed by Shanxi New Material 2.6 million tonnes. In 2022, Chalco produced approximately 17.64 million tonnes of metallurgical-grade alumina, accounting for 22 per cent of China’s total alumina output.

2) China Hongqiao Group Limited

The Group is principally engaged in the manufacturing and sales of aluminum products covering the full value chain from bauxite mining, energy generation and production of alumina to the manufacturing of primary aluminum and down-stream value-added aluminum products. The company’s alumina production primarily includes six major production processes from raw materials, dissolution, sedimentation, decomposition, evaporation to roasting.

In 2020, China Hongqiao Group’s alumina production capacity had reached 15 million tonnes. According to 2022, the company earned revenue of RMB 21,404,782,000 from alumina business versus RMB 16,966,928,000 in 2021. The growth was due to higher sales volume, which was reported at 8.298 million tonnes, representing a year-on-year increase of approximately 15.8 per cent. The average sales price of alumina also increased by about 8.9 per cent to RMB 2,580 per tonne (excluding value-added tax) as compared with the corresponding period last year.

Shandong Weiqiao Aluminum & Electric Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China Hongqiao Group Limited has a 10 million tonnes of annual alumina output.

3) Shandong Xinfa Group

Shandong Xinfa Group is a diversified private entity with involvement in power, aluminium and carbon products. In the alumina sector, the company ranks third in China. Xinfa Group’s alumina refinery in southern China’s Guangxi region had an annual alumina producing capacity of 3 million tonnes but it lowered its production by 500,000 tonnes in 2019. The refinery’s daily production rate went down from 7,600 tonnes to 6,100 tonnes.

4) Hangzhou Jinjiang Group

Hangzhou Jinjiang Group is an integrated aluminium company engaged in bauxite mining, alumina refining, and downstream product manufacturing. It has seven refineries, which make the Group the fourth largest producer of alumina in China. Hangzhou Jinjiang Group-owned Kaiman Aluminium, located in Sanmenxia city in Henan province, had an annual alumina production capacity of 2.1 million tonnes until it reduced its production by half with effect from April 19, 2021. Hangzhou Jinjiang Group’s total assets during the said year were estimated to exceed RMB 60 billion, and revenue to surpass RMB 78 billion. In December 2023, the Group was awarded the "AAA Credit Rating Unit for Nonferrous Metals Industry Enterprises", which is currently the highest credit rating evaluation for enterprises in the nonferrous metals industry.

5) Shandong Nanshan Aluminium Co., Ltd.

Shandong Nanshan Aluminium Co., Ltd. runs a complete aluminium industry chain. Its main activities include alumina and aluminum production and processing. In 2023, the company’s alumina sales amounted to RMB 5,732 million versus RMB 3,643 million a year ago. Its alumina subsidiary firm Longkou Donghai Alumina Co., Ltd. has a production line of 600,000 tonnes per annum in Phase 1.

Conclusion: These are China's top five alumina producers that are fuelling the domestic ore demand. China's alumina production even started 2024 on a positive note. Although it slightly decreased month-on-month by 0.30 per cent, it grew annually by 4.74 per cent, reaching 6.85 million tonnes. 

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