A Hundred Years of the Bayer Process for Alumina Production

  • Fathi Habashi


On August 3, 1888 German Patent No. 43977 entitled “A Process for the Production of Aluminum Hydroxide” was issued**. The discovery which led to the patent was made by the Austrian chemist Karl Josef Bayer (1847–1904) (Figure 1) who was at that time in Russia, and the process became known as the Bayer Process in his honour (1,2). The process immediately achieved industrial success, displacing the pyrometallurgical process that had been used until that time to produce alumina. The Bayer Process involved the pressure leaching of bauxite with NaOH solution to obtain sodium aluminate solution from which aluminum hydroxide was precipitated by seeding.


Aluminum Hydroxide Light Metal Gallium Arsenide Sodium Aluminate Sodium Aluminate Solution 
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  1. 1).
    F. Habashi, “Karl Josef Bayer (1847–1904). A Pioneer in Hydrometallurgy and Pressure Technology”, Progress in Extractive Metallurgy 1, 1–16 (1973).Google Scholar
  2. 2).
    F. Habashi, “Hydrometallurgy. Its Past, Present, and Future”, Trans. Indian Inst. Metals 31 (4), 231–238, 279 (1978).Google Scholar
  3. 3).
    J.W. Mellor, A Comprehensive Treatise of Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry, Volume 5, pp. 253–263, Longmans, London, 1929.Google Scholar
  4. 4).
    J.D. Edwards, F.C. Frary, and Z. Jeffries, The Aluminum Industry. McGraw Hill, N.W York, 1930.Google Scholar
  5. see also N.C. Craig and C.M. Bickert, “Hall and Hérault: the Men and Their Invention”, Bull. Can. Inst. Min. & Met. 79 (892), 98–101 (1986).Google Scholar
  6. 5).
    N. Oeberg and R.O. Friederich, “Outlook of the Bayer Process”, pp. 144–153 in Hall-Héroult Centennial. edited by W.S. Peterson and R.E. Miller, The Metallurgical Society AIME, Warrendale, Pa, 1986.Google Scholar
  7. 6).
    W.N. Hartley and H. Ramage, “On the Occurrence of the Element Gallium in the Clay-Ironstone of the Cleveland District of Yorkshire”, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London) 60, 35–37 (1896), ibid. 60, 393–407 (1896).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fathi Habashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mining & MetallurgyLaval UniversityQuebec CityCanada

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