Guinea’s Bauxite Exports Hit Record High as China’s Aluminum Demand Soars

Guinea’s Bauxite Exports Hit Record High as China’s Aluminum Demand Soars

The second quarter of 2024 saw Guinea’s bauxite exports reach an unprecedented 38.01 million tonnes, according to Greek broker Intermodal. This surge is largely driven by robust demand from China, which has been setting new records in primary aluminum production. In the first five months of 2024 alone, Chinese primary aluminum production hit 17.77 million tonnes, marking a 5.4% increase over the previous record set during the same period in 2023.

The rise in aluminum production is primarily fueled by strong demand from the solar energy and electric vehicle sectors, which account for 44% of aluminum use. However, these are not the sole factors driving the increase in consumption. Yunnan, a key aluminum production center in China, significantly benefits from its extensive hydroelectric power capabilities. The province, second only to another in terms of hydroelectric installations, has seen abundant rainfall in recent years, allowing for maximum hydroelectric production and reducing the need for solar energy.

Intermodal’s forecast for the third quarter indicates a potential decrease in bauxite imports from Guinea. Nonetheless, if China’s hydroelectric power production remains robust, demand for aluminum for purposes other than solar power could offset this reduction. This scenario could provide an opportunity for Australia to sell part of its bauxite stockpile. Intermodal predicts that by the end of the year, Guinean bauxite will again be in high demand in China as aluminum production is expected to rebound.

This industrial boom and the increasing reliance on renewable energy sources underscore the dynamic nature of the global aluminum market, with significant implications for bauxite producers worldwide. Maintaining high levels of aluminum production, even with fluctuating sources of raw materials, remains crucial for meeting the ongoing demands of the green energy transition. icon

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