Alumina is a white granular material, a little less coarse than table salt, and is properly called aluminium oxide. Aluminium does not occur as a metal, but must first be refined from bauxite in its oxide form. Aluminium compounds make up 7.3% of the earth's crust, making it the third most common crustal element and the most common crustal metal on earth. Aluminium was first produced in 1808. There are three main steps in the process of aluminium production. First is the mining of aluminium ore, most commonly bauxite, referred to as bauxite mining. Second is the refining of bauxite into aluminium oxide trihydrate (Al2O3), known as alumina, and third is the electrolytically reduction of alumina into metallic aluminium. Development in the aluminium producing industry, consumption and environÂ¬mental implications are discussed, as well as aspects of future trends. This also includes the preceding processes of bauxite mining and alumina refining. Each of these process steps are described consecutively. Uses & Application Alumina is used in Gas laser tubes, Wear pads, Seal rings, High temperature electrical insulators, High voltage insulators, Furnace liner tubes, Thread and wire guides, Electronic substrates, Ballistic armor, Abrasion resistant tube and elbow liners, Thermometry sensors, Laboratory instrument tubes and sample holders, Instrumentation parts for thermal property test machines & Grinding media Market Survey The markets for alumina and aluminum have dramatic growth potential as a result of both significantly increased demand and political and environmental factors affecting supply. Global Alumina is perfectly positioned to capture the demand of independent aluminum producers as it builds the first green-field refinery to be constructed in Guinea in more than 40 years. Global aluminium prices are likely to go up in the wake of growing demand at domestic and international fronts, coupled with China's step to slash production of the metal. According to Harbor Intelligence, a global consulting firm specialising in forecasts for commodities, aluminium prices could touch $2,700 per tonne in the first half of the next year. In the middle of 2008, industry professionals forecast an increase in annual alumina demand of approximately 50 million metric tons, for a cumulative annual demand of 124 million metric tons, by 2017.