By Robin Gendron, Mats Ingulstad, Espen Storli
Because the key part in aluminum creation, bauxite has develop into some of the most very important minerals of the final 100 years. to a few it introduced monetary and political virtue, yet for lots of others, its improvement left a legacy of exploitation. Aluminum Ore explores the historical past of bauxite within the 20th century and the worldwide forces that this historical past represents, from its strategic improvement within the First global warfare to its function within the globalization of markets as businesses from the northern hemisphere vied for the assets of the south. that includes essays by way of students from all over the world, this wide-ranging assortment is a historical past of 1 crucial mineral and a brand new point of view on a time of change.
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Extra info for Aluminum Ore: The Political Economy of the Global Bauxite Industry
Like Perchard, Ingulstad emphasizes the importance of understanding the decision-making apparatus of the state, especially since the outcomes are negotiated by actors with different ideas about what constitutes the national interest. The fifth chapter, by Stephen Fortescue, marks the high point of the drive toward autarky by a state that consciously rejected globalization as a viable strategy for accessing bauxite. When faced with its own lack of workable bauxite ores, the Soviet leadership instead chose a policy of substitution through alternative processes.
47 After Bihar came under Romanian jurisdiction, the Hungarian mining companies, supported by the government, started searching for bauxite in Hungary. In 1922, a mining company discovered bauxite in Veszprém, in western Hungary, and Aluérc quickly bought up the deposits. The company again started to test out new methods for making alumina in a small pilot plant, but the owners also established contact with Vereinigte Aluminium Werke (VAW), the German state–owned aluminum company. 48 After having discontinued deliveries from Bihar, the company depended on bauxite from Istria (and to some degree imports from France), but the transport was expensive and arduous, and when the Italian government implemented export restrictions on bauxite, the Germans looked to the newly discovered Hungarian deposits.
The Hungary case is a potent illustration of how politicized the bauxite industry became during the First World War and in the interwar years. Because of aluminum’s military importance, secure access to bauxite was a question of national security. This was especially so for Germany, a country that lacked good-quality deposits. From 1914 onward, the German state therefore got actively involved in the race for bauxite. The German demand created opportunities for entrepreneurs like Count Kornis, and just as in British Guiana, it was the combination of foreign capital and local initiative that led to Hungarian bauxite being incorporated into the international economy.