• Refining Process

    The Bayer Process, a thermo-chemical digestion method invented in 1887 by Austrian scientist Karl Josef Bayer, is the most economic means of obtaining alumina from bauxite. | Learn more

  • Smelting Process

    The Hall-Héroult process, the industrial method for the smelting of primary aluminium, involves passing a large electric current through a molten mixture of cryolite, alumina and aluminium fluoride to obtain liquid aluminium metal. | Learn more

  • Aluminium Semi-Fabrication

    The benefits of aluminium – its low density, strength, ductility and corrosion resistance – are realised through a number of processing methods, to produce semi-finished products, that will become window frames, electric cables, car parts, cans and foils. | Learn more

Primary production

How does aluminium become the perfect material for packaging, transport, and construction?

It’s all in its primary production, which brings aluminium to life. After the refining process is complete, the alumina – now a white powder similar in size to sand grains – continues on its journey to smelters to convert it through electrolytic reduction into aluminium.

This is where the magic happens, transforming it into the light, durable, malleable and corrosion-resistant metal that makes aluminium one of the great engineering materials of our time. This is why we find aluminium everywhere: in the homes we live in, in the cars we drive, in the trains and planes that enable mass travel, in the mobile phones that connect us, in the cans we drink from, and in the computers that power business.

From reduction to casting, and from extrusion to the use of energy and water, these pages take you through the smelting process and the facts behind primary production.

Production facts

1 | Demand Increase

Demand for aluminium products has doubled since 2000.

2 | Reduced smelting energy

Global average aluminium smelting energy intensity was reduced by 6% between 2006 and 2014.

3 | Processing

The beneficial properties of aluminium include its low density, strength, ductility and corrosion resistance.


Transport: find out how aluminium is revolutionising the way we move