Australia: Alumina, Bauxite & Aluminium Recognised as Critical Minerals

Australian Aluminium Council

The Australian Aluminium Council’s incoming President, Mike Ferraro (CEO and Managing Director, Alumina Ltd), today called upon the federal government to include bauxite (aluminium ore), alumina and aluminium on the Critical Minerals List.

“Aluminium is, and will continue to be, one of the most widely used commodities in the global clean energy transition. To capitalise on the nation’s abundance of these commodities and to position Australia as a supplier of choice, they need to be recognised as critical minerals,” Mr Ferraro said.

Australia currently has a very narrow definition of critical minerals which does not include resources already produced at scale including bauxite, alumina, aluminium and other major commodities. Other countries, including our peers in Canada, USA and Europe, identify bauxite and aluminium as critical. Furthermore, aluminium is recognised by the World Bank and the International Energy Agency as one of the commodities required for both clean energy technologies and the construction of the electricity networks.

Australia should be aligned with its peers on critical minerals in order to ensure it is optimally placed to capture the increasing demand for minerals, like bauxite, alumina and aluminium, needed in the clean energy transition. It is an opportunity the nation cannot afford to miss.

Australia is the world’s largest producer of bauxite, the largest producer of alumina outside of China and a significant aluminium producer. Our vertically integrated aluminium industry contributes around $16.9B a year to the economy in export value.

“Australia is one of the very few countries that has bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium smelting and aluminium extrusion industries, making aluminium one of the few commodities for which the entire value chain from mining to the manufacture of consumer products is represented locally,” Mr Ferraro said. “This is a great economic story for Australia in not just extracting minerals but in transforming them to deliver considerable economic value, including a great many jobs.”

Mr Ferraro added, “In addition to contributing to a decarbonised economy through our products, the aluminium industry is investing in the transition to net zero through the development of new technologies to decarbonise our processes. The scale of the investment required to decarbonise is substantial and will require input from a range of stakeholders including government. Decarbonising Australia’s electricity supply is the biggest opportunity to support the transition in the next decade.”


Mr Ferraro was appointed as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Alumina Ltd on 1 June 2017. Prior to his appointment as CEO and Managing Director he was a Non-Executive Director of the Alumina Ltd from 5 February 2014 to 31 May 2017. Immediately before his appointment as CEO, Mr Ferraro was Partner, Client Development-Asia Pacific at Herbert Smith Freehills. Between 2008 and 2010 Mr Ferraro was Chief Legal Counsel at BHP Billiton Ltd. Mr Ferraro has considerable experience in the resources sector and has over 30 years of experience in joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, fund raising, and regulatory issues across a wide range of sectors and countries.

About us:


The Australian Aluminium Council represents Australia’s bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium smelting and downstream processing industries. The aluminium industry has been operating in Australia since 1955, and over the decades has been a significant contributor to the nation’s economy. It includes six mines which collectively produce over 100 Mt per annum making Australia the world’s largest producer of bauxite. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of alumina with six alumina refineries producing around 20 Mt per annum of alumina. Australia is the seventh largest producer of aluminium, with four aluminium smelters and additional downstream processing industries including more than 20 extrusion presses. Aluminium is Australia’s highest earning manufacturing export. The industry directly employs more than 17,000 people, including 4,000 full time equivalent contractors. It also indirectly supports around 60,000 families predominantly in regional Australia.

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