Aluminium is the third most common element in the earth’s crust – only oxygen and silicon exist in greater amounts. Because aluminium is a reactive element, it is usually found as a highly stable complex alumino-silicate instead of in metallic form. To produce aluminium metal from such a stable compound requires complex technology and large amounts of energy.
The end uses of aluminium and its alloys are many and varied, but the major ones are in transport, building and construction, packaging and electrical and mechanical engineering. Aluminium’s light weight, high strength and good corrosion resistance make it the metal of choice for all commercial and industrial engineering sectors. It is also highly recyclable without degrading quality, giving it a vital role in the burgeoning circular economy.
Whatever the origin of the aluminium, its end use is growing and there is very active trading in imported and exported aluminium products, ingot and scrap.