An update on past news

Wednesday, September 29, 1999

Too expensive to
extract isles’ bauxite

Question: What ever happened to the idea of mining bauxite, the source of aluminum, in Hawaii?

Answer: Although there are huge deposits of bauxite on Kauai, Maui and the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, with the total estimated at 600 million tons, a study in 1971 by the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that Hawaii's bauxite ore is low-grade and extraction would be costly.

Add to that the fact Hawaii's land is quite valuable the way it is, that bauxite has to be strip mined, which means the land is ruined unless expensive reclamation work is done, and it's clear major economic obstacles stand in the way of mining Hawaii's bauxite.

If inexpensive technology could be developed, there might come a time when it would be worthwhile to mine Hawaii's bauxite. But it hasn't happened yet.

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