Arkansas was a major producer of bauxite in the United States until the end of World War II. Now, Australia, South America, Africa and the Caribbean are the major suppliers of the ore.
The ore occurs as layers in the Earth's crust and is a solid material composed of hydrated aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and hydrated iron oxide (Fe2O3). The first step is prospecting, in which geologists locate bauxite deposits.
Prospectors drill in areas that have bauxite deposits and assay samples to determine the quality and quantity of the ore. Workers then use bulldozers to clear the area and explosives to loosen the soil, which is loaded into trucks and transported to a processing plant.
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