Consistency of bauxite supply has a significant effect on alumina quality. Excursions in alumina content and impurity levels can affect aspects such as circuit A/TC and formation of desilication product potentially causing problems with process control.
FTIR spectroscopy can be a useful tool for estimating the quality of an ore body based on exploration samples. Furthermore, it can highlight regions of bauxite that are relatively unusual. The unusual bauxite can be investigated for potential impacts on refinery processes well in advance of mining.
The bauxite analysis technique is described conceptually. Challenges and difficulties are discussed. Results for an example application - the measurement of available alumina in Darling Range bauxite - are presented.