The mechanochemical processing of bauxite with lime has been investigated. The milling of bauxite and lime mixtures in an attritor mill resulted in the formation of an iron rich hydrogarnet phase in bauxite/lime slurries containing greater than 9% CaO. Up to 90% of the quartz contained in the bauxite was found to have been removed by the hydrogarnet reaction. The hydrogarnet compound was stable during the high temperature alumina extraction step, resulting in a 30% drop in caustic soda consumption. Alumina extraction was not influenced by the mechanochemical processing. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.