Preparing to launch production at its Al Taweelah alumina refinery during the first half of next year, the United Arab Emirates’ aluminium conglomerate Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) unveiled plans to responsibly manage bauxite residues – by-products of alumina refining.
EGA has constructed a dedicated storage space for the by-product about 30 kilometres from the Al Taweelah alumina refinery in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi. Global waste management company Veolia has been contracted to transport the bauxite residue and manage its storage.
The bauxite residue from the Al Taweelah alumina refinery will be washed, pressed into a dry cake, and transported by Veolia in sealed trucks to the custom built site for permanent storage. EGA plans to progressively seal and landscape the storage site and make the land available for future uses such as warehousing or solar farms.
Zaher Al Habtari, Senior Vice President of Refinery Operations at EGA, said:
“The responsible management of bauxite residue has been a key priority for Al Taweelah alumina refinery since the project was on the drawing board, and UAE environmental regulators rightly set tough standards. I am confident that we have a world-class storage solution in place, but our ambitions are much higher as we aim in the longer term to turn this waste into value through innovation.”
Each year, 150 million tonnes of bauxite residue are produced globally and less than two per cent of this by-product is put to productive use. EGA is working in partnership with several universities across the world to develop economic uses for by-products resulting from alumina refining. Among potential uses is an idea to convert bauxite residue with agricultural and domestic wastes into soil for greening or recycling this waste to produce construction materials.
Earlier this month, EGA signed an agreement with a building materials company Arkan to manage spent pot lining – waste product from aluminium smelting – for use in the manufacturing of cement. At the Al Taweelah site, EGA is building a facility to process pot lining and make it available for cement companies that can then use it as an alternative fuel and raw material.
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