The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite. Bauxite was named after the village Les Baux in southern France,where it was first recognised as containing aluminium and named by the French geologist Pierre Berthier in 1821. Bauxite is usually strip mined because it is almost always found near the surface of the terrain, with little or no overburden. Approximately 70% to 80% of the world’s dry bauxite production is processed first into alumina, and then into aluminium.
Aluminium is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth’s crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. Aluminium is a relatively soft, durable, lightweight, ductile and malleable metal with appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness. It is non-magnetic and does not easily ignite.
Aluminium is known for its corrosion resistance properties due to a thin surface layer of aluminiumoxide that forms when the metal is exposed to air, effectively preventing further oxidation. Owing to its resistance to corrosion, aluminium is one of the few metals that retain silvery reflectance in finely powdered form, making it an important component of silver-coloured paints.