Journals →  Tsvetnye Metally →  2021 →  #4 →  Back

ArticleName China’s aluminium sector and prospects of global aluminium industry
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2021.04.01
ArticleAuthor Korneev S. I.

S. I. Korneev, Editor of the Section Economics and Management of Production of the “Tsvetnye Metally” Journal, Candidate of Economics Sciences, e-mail:


Using statistical data, this paper analyzes the evolution, current status and prospects of China’s aluminium industry: sufficiency of raw materials, bauxite mining, alumina production, capacity utilization, primary aluminium output, technological development. The analysis confirms that China will maintain its leading position at the global aluminium market in the long term. Thus, China will remain the world’s biggest importer of bauxites and alumina, the leading producer of alumina and primary aluminium, a big exporter of semi-finished products and aluminium compounds with a high added value. The growth of the country’s aluminium sector is a typical example of China’s global economic dominance policy — i. e. imports of raw materials, rising production and exports of final products, which are sweeping the national and international markets thanks to breakthrough technology and competitive prices. Being the key player at the global market for non-ferrous metals (primarily, aluminium), China, on one hand, generates an initial demand for them by using them in manufacturing and, on the other hand, the country is interested in low and stable prices. The main advantages of China’s aluminium industry include its large scale, low energy consumption, the capacity of the steadily growing internal market, available production facilities with a low wear level, a developed transport infrastructure and port facilities, an aggressive merge policy exercised at both the national and international markets, the government’s flexible currency policy, quick decision making, a high economic mobilization discipline. In the long run, only primary aluminium producers of comparable size and technology status (both the existing and the projected ones) will be able to survive the competition with their Chinese peers.

keywords Aluminium industry of China, bauxites, alumina, primary aluminium, global economic dominance, production scale

1. Mineral Commodity Summaries 2020. U. S. Geological Survey. p. 51, 53, 94, 112, 172, 190. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
2. World Bureau of Metal Statistics. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
3. Lee Bray E. Bauxite and alumina. Mineral Commodity Summaries 2020. U.S. Geological Survey. January 2020. p. 31. Available at: (Accessed: 01.07.2020).
4. China’s bauxite imports drop by 7% in December. 04.02.2021. Available at: (Accessed: 23.03.2021).
5. Aluminum Corporation of China Limited. Annual Report. 2019.
Form 20-F. 22.04.2020. pp. 31–32, 35. Available at: (Accessed: 01.07.2020).
6. China Metals Giant Pushes Further Into Africa in Bauxite Hunt. Bloomberg News. 18.05.2018. Available at: (Accessed: 01.07.2020).
7. Mineral Commodity Summaries. U.S. Geological Survey. Available at: (Accessed: 01.07.2020).
8. Primary aluminium production. World Aluminium. International Aluminum Institute. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
9. 4Q and FY2019 Financial Results Presentation. UC RUSAL. 13/03/20. p. 23. Available at: (Accessed: 01.07.2020).
10. China needs more alumina. Metal Supply and Sales. 01.12.2020. Available at: (Accessed: 23.03.2021).
11. Metallurgical alumina refining energy intensity. World Aluminium. International Aluminum Institute. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
12. Primary aluminium smelting energy intensity. World Aluminium. International Aluminum Institute. Available at: (Accessed: 01.07.2020).
13. Mintsis M. Ya., Sirazutdinov G. A., Galevskiy G. V. Electrolysers with Soderberg anode and possibilities of their modernization. Tsvetnye Metally. 2010. No. 12. pp. 49–52.
14. Aluminium industry : A reference book on best available techniques. Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology. Moscow : Byuro BND 2016. pp. 116–122. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
15. Kutovaya Ya. Rusal against China: Why Chinese producers push aside the others. Forbes. 28.03.2017. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
16. Metallurgical alumina refining fuel consumption. World Aluminium. International Aluminum Institute. Available at: 22.03.2021).
17. Annual Report 2019. UC RUSAL 31/03/20. p. 7. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
18. Aluminium price quotations at London Metal Exchange. ELEC. Available at: (Accessed: 22.03.2021).
19. Press Release. 17/02/21. World Bureau of Metal Statistics. Available at: (Accessed: 22.03.2021).
20. Baranovskiy V. G., Bogaevskaya O. V., Vartazarova L. S., Voytolovskiy F. G. et al. US – China: A fight between two global leadership strategies and practices. Ed. by L. S. Vartazarova, I. Ya. Kobrinskaya. Moscow : IMEMO RAN, 2018. pp. 25–27, 61. Available at: (Accessed: 1.07.2020).
21. Korneev S. I. BHP Billiton: assets optimization — scale quality or quality scale. Tsvetnye Metally. 2015. No. 7. pp. 15–18. DOI: 10.17580/tsm.2015.07.02.

Language of full-text russian
Full content Buy