by Anders Norlin, Sapa, Sweden
Aluminium is a young metal with an outstanding history as far as the technical metals are concerned. The first aluminium items made their appearance on the market in or around 1890 and this heralded the start of a unique market trend which has made aluminium the second most frequently used metal after steel.
In 1998, the consumption of aluminium totalled 28.7 million tonnes. Consumption focuses on the countries with a high level of development and the dominant markets are therefore Asia, North America and Western Europe, Fig. 1. Expressed in terms of consumption per capita, Japan, the USA, Sweden and the Netherlands are the leaders.
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