The output of the bauxite mining industry is intrinsically linked to the production of primary aluminium metal. The industry is dominated by six large fully integrated companies ( Alcoa, Alcan, Reynolds, Kaiser, Pechiney and Alusuisse ) which are gradually reducing their ownership but not control at the bauxite mining stage. There is a secondary group of companies ( Comalco, Alumax, Aluminia, Billiton, Hydro Aluminium, YAW and the Venezulan Government) which are not as large as the 'Six Sisters' but which are significant operations within the overall aluminium industry. The remaining independents', other companies and Governments in the aluminium aluminium industry have varying degrees of integration. A trend over the last few decades is for there to be more Government involvement in both the bauxite mining and the aluminium industry, especially in the Lesser Developed Countries.
A majority of bauxite production is delivered to dedicated alumina plant(s) close to the source of bauxite production. Therefore, the volume of seaborn traded bauxite has been reducing significantly over the last decade.
Bauxite is a minor cost element ( 2% -5%) in the production of primary aluminium metal. Current bauxite mining capacity is able to cope with projected increases in the demand for bauxite over the next decade.
Rivalry among companies in the bauxite mining industry is intense. However, it is dominated by several of the larger organisations. Alcoa owns approximately 14% of Western World bauxite mining capacity, I but controls approximately 24%. State ownership is 41% , but control is only 28% .On a regional basis Australia has 36% of bauxite mining capacity, and Latin America has 24 % of capacity. By the turn of the century, however, Latin America will probably be the dominant bauxite producer.