Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, has announced the readiness of the waste management system for its Al Taweelah alumina refinery currently under construction. Production start of the refinery is scheduled for the first half of 2019.
Bauxite residue is a by-product of alumina refining, and EGA’s goal is to responsibly manage its storage and develop potential re-uses. The company has completed construction of a dedicated storage area for bauxite residue about 30 kilometres from the Al Taweelah refinery in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi.
When the alumina refinery starts production, bauxite residue will be washed, pressed into a dry cake, and transported to the area for permanent managed storage using a fleet of sealed trucks. The storage site will be progressively sealed and landscaped, with the land re-used for potential projects from warehousing to a solar farm.
EGA has signed a contract with global waste management company Veolia to manage the transport of bauxite residue and the storage facility.
Industry experts estimate that at least 150 million tonnes of bauxite residue are produced worldwide each year. It is thought that less than 2% of this is currently put to productive use. EGA is working with a number of universities and expert consultancies to research and develop economic uses for bauxite residue which, if successful, would be a global breakthrough for the aluminium industry.
Potential uses being explored include converting bauxite residue with agricultural and domestic wastes into soil for greening, and using bauxite residue to produce bulk construction materials.