The raw material for the extraction of aluminium is bauxite; all important deposits, comprising about 90 % of the total, are near to the equator. Major mining areas are in Australia, West Africa, Jamaica, and Brazil.
In a two-stage process the metal is extracted from the bauxite ore under pressure and heat using the so-called Bayer process. The aluminium hydroxide is then heated to produce aluminium oxide (alumina): This aluminium oxide is the starting product for the second process step: the electrolysis. In this process alumina is dissolved in molten cryolite and split into molten aluminium and oxygen by passing an electric current. From two tons of aluminium oxide thus one ton of primary metal is extracted.