UAE’s Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC (EGA) announced earlier this week the widening of a partnership with Belgian research and technology organization Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO) dedicated to discovering new and different beneficial uses of bauxite ore residue.
Per EGA, the companies will begin two new studies, the first of which involves using bauxite residue to replace sand in roadbed construction. Though sand is in ready supply in the UAE, the vast majority of native sands are unsuitable for road construction, necessitating importation of large quantities from abroad.
The second study to be undertaken by the partnership will be an investigation into the potential use of bauxite residue to replace imported clay-based lightweight aggregates that are used for the production of lightweight concrete and insulation blocks, among other uses. Should the team find a suitable mix, the discovery may well lead to a significant new local industry as well as vastly reducing the UAE’s import of such materials.
Dr. Ali Alzarouni, EGA’s Executive Vice President Midstream, said the move is the logical next step for the partnership.
“We are now moving into the next stage of this important research on the use of bauxite residue, with detailed work on specific potential applications in construction. Finding economically-viable uses for bauxite residue is a global challenge. We are mindful of the scale of the task, but success here could be a breakthrough for our entire industry.”
Based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Emirates Global Aluminium is an aluminium conglomerate created by the merger between Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) in 2013. EGA had an estimated enterprise value of US$15 billion at the time the merger took place. The firm is owned equally by Mubadala Development Company of Abu Dhabi and Investment Corporation of Dubai. Emirates Global Aluminium holds interests in bauxite/alumina and primary aluminium smelting.