UAE’s Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC (EGA) announced yesterday that the firm has come to an agreement with Belgian research and technology organization Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO) to explore the possibility of repurposing bauxite residue for use in a variety of construction materials.
According to the firm, EGA and VITO, in cooperation with experts from Belgium’s University of Leuven, will pursue possible technologically- and commercially-viable uses for the industrial by-product, including in the manufacture of road base, concrete, and refractory bricks. Such items, particularly refractory bricks, could see use in EGA’s own facilities in Al Taweelah.
Per EGA, and despite a great deal of research into alternatives, the lion’s share of bauxite residue is classified as industrial waste and treated as such by being placed in indefinite storage. The firm cites industry experts’ estimates that only 2 percent of the 150 million metric tons of bauxite residue produced each year is repurposed for uses other than waste.
EGA’s Vice President of Technology Development & Transfer Abdalla Alzarooni believes that the entirety of bauxite residue may someday find a use in other forms.
“Using bauxite residue as the raw material for construction products is one potential solution we are investigating for bauxite residue. Finding viable uses for this by-product is a challenge for our industry globally, but we aim to reduce and even eliminate the need to store new bauxite residue in the longer term.”
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. EGA turned out a record 2.5 million metric tons of primary aluminium in 2016.