Where Does Aluminum Come From?

Aluminum comes from several sources; it rarely occurs in pure form in nature, and is most frequently found embedded in other minerals, primarily bauxite. Bauxite and aluminum bear many physical characteristics; bauxite is comprised primarily of aluminum oxides, but has a slightly different shape and color. Aluminum and its companion metals and minerals are found in the Earth’s crust.

Along with bauxite, aluminum is present in several other minerals, including clay, alunite and mica. Although aluminum is frequently found in these elements, it is rarely extracted from them, as the separation process involves quite a bit of time and financial resources. However, aluminum commonly occurs alongside the minerals diaspore, gibbsite and boehmite, which are much cheaper to extract and process. These minerals are mined from several regions, including Australia, Jamaica, Brazil, Guinea and India. Aluminum may be processed, upon separation from other minerals, for a variety of uses. It is among the most common elements on Earth, and one of the most versatile. Aluminum can be alloyed, or merged, with several elements, such as magnesium, copper and silicon. When combined with these substances, aluminum forms a strong metal that is durable and resistant to high heat and corrosion. Common uses of aluminum and its alloys include aircraft and car parts, building materials, wrapping foil and beverage cans.