Handling of bauxite - The environmental impact of Jamaica bauxite mining

Bauxite is one of the world’s most abundant minerals and is strip-mined in many places. Nearly all is processed into alumina for aluminium production. Bauxite contains iron-bearing clay or red mud, which often leaves stains on the hold paint that can prove difficult to remove.

Bauxite is an aluminium ore and is the main source of aluminium. This form of rock consists mostly of the minerals gibbsite Al(OH)3, boehmite y-AlO(OH), and diaspore a-AlO(OH), in a mixture with the two iron oxides goethite and hematite, the clay mineral kaolinite, and small amounts of anatase TiO2 A brownish-yellow clay-like and earthy mineral. Moisture content : 0% to 10 %. Insoluble in water.there are three main structural types of bauxite: Gibbsite; Bohmite :diaspore.



Consideration prior loading Bauxite

Hold with bauxite stains
Fig: Hold with bauxite stains

  • Hazard : No specific hazard
  • Hold cleanliness ; No special requirement
  • Stowage & segregation: No special requirement
  • Weather precautions : No special requirement
  • Precautions : Bilge wells shall be clean, dry and covered as appropriate, to prevent ingress of the cargo.
  • Carriage : No special requirement
  • Ventilation : No special requirement
  • Discharge : No special requirement
Loading bauxite

Moisture content is critical. May liquefy. Relevant physical properties including moisture content must be checked prior to loading.

Trim in accordance with the relevant provisions required under section 4 and 5 of the Code As the density of the cargo is extremely high, the tank top may be overstressed unless the cargo is evenly spread across the tank top to equalize the weight distribution. Due consideration shall be paid to ensure that the tank top is not overstressed during voyage and during loading by a pile of the cargo.


Bauxite loading preparations

Remove all solid residues, sweep clean, and high-pressure wash with seawater. Depending on the previous cargo and the condition of the paint coating in the holds, chemical cleaning may be required.


After discharge

Remove all solid residues and sweep clean; the application of chemicals diluted with freshwater may be needed to dry bulkheads. Seawater cleaning before the application of chemicals may reduce the effect of the chemicals and should only be done if heavy cargo deposits are present. Cleaning is completed by flushing with freshwater, working from the top down.


Jamaica Bauxite case

The environmental impact of Jamaica bauxite mining symbolizes the majority of mining or heavy industrial operations. Bauxite mining, which is considered as surface mining, is land extensive, noisy and dusty.

Mining pits are often interspersed with small rural communities, thereby requiring companies relocate the people and/or to monetarily compensate them. An increasing concern is the loss of habitat for Jamaica's unique plant and animal species. Also, bauxite mining severely affects the water retention capability of the soil. The Jamaican Mining Act of 1947 requires mines to remove topsoil before mining, and restore it as part of the reclamation process. However, due to the enlargement of the surface area after mining, and the extraction of much bauxite, the soil is less capable of retaining water. Where formerly annual crops were grown, now only tree crops and pasture are feasible, and water reaches the aquifers more quickly.

Generally, farmers who reclaim the land receive extension services from these companies. Refineries and port facilities, besides handling bauxite and alumina, handle an enormous amount of fuel oil, caustic soda, lime, and other chemical inputs. Storage bunkers are situated close to the shore line and are relatively exposed generally resulting in spills occurring at the ports. The refineries are also subject to spills and other incidental releases. One of the major sources of air pollution is oil combustion for power generation and alumina calcining.

Two other environmental impacts of great concern is dust and caustic soda contamination. The particularly small size of both raw bauxite and alumina very often affect areas downwind of mining, transport, calcining, and ship loading operations. "During a visit to ALPART'S port facility economic officials observed a considerable amount of alumina spilled on the pier and clouds of dust being carried downwind from loading equipment." It has been argued that the dust is chemically inert, however it adversely affects the respiratory system, pollutes the residential cisterns, and defaces property. The degradation of Jamaica's delicate coral reefs along its south coast is as a result of alumina spilling during ship loading

The main pollutant that are released are caustic acid which, through spills or dumping, make their way to creeks and rivers and cause fish kill, where dead fish can be seen floating on the water.


Another bauxite loading port Pontianak (Indonesia) & Discharging port Shandong (China)



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