Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Group announced this week a US$1.2 million investment in Quebec mining technology firm Geomega Resources Inc.’s US$4 million project aimed at sustainable valorization of bauxite residue.
The project will be conducted by Geomega’s wholly-owned subsidiary Innord Inc. The Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation will provide US$300,000 towards the project, and Geomega will pitch in an additional US$550,000. A subsequent announcement will reveal the identity of the investor that is providing the final US$450,000.
Rio Tinto’s research and development team will collaborate with Innord’s research team, with Dr. Pouya Hajiani, Geomega’s Chief Technology Officer, leading the combined researchers.
Rio Tinto’s Director of By-product Valorization Stephane Poirier said in a related press release that the aims of the project were many.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Geomega to support their development of this technology aimed at finding new uses for bauxite residue, the waste from the alumina refining process. This has the potential to not only reduce the environmental footprint of aluminium production, but to also deliver new sources of materials such as critical minerals needed to support a low carbon future.”
Kiril Mugerman, President and CEO of Geomega and Innord, said that Rio Tinto’s investment and participation were proof positive of the firm’s commitment to sustainability.
“We wish to thank SDTC for their contribution to this exciting, innovative and challenging Project. As a leading Canadian organisation in supporting the development of innovative clean technologies, we appreciate their contribution and look forward to working with the SDTC [Sustainable Development Technology Canada] team as a valued partner in delivering a sustainable and complete solution to the bauxite residues challenge that is so important to both the Canadian and the global aluminum industry. Furthermore, we also wish to thank Rio Tinto for their support over the last 12 months and their continued collaboration on this Project. Working with the Rio Tinto team has demonstrated that it is clearly a company that believes in innovation and is committed to developing sustainable technologies around the critical and strategic materials which the world requires. The Corporation is very grateful for the continued support from the Quebec Government through Investissement Quebec, which is dedicated to supporting R&D, innovation and clean technologies in Quebec.”
“Over the course of the last 12 months, Innord’s research team has worked closely with technical experts from our partner Rio Tinto to deliver a bench scale study project and is now prepared for the next stage of scale up,” noted Dr. Pouya Hajiani, Chief Technology Officer of Geomega and Innord. “The Project, estimated to be completed over the next 24 months, will include the construction of a pilot plant, to be installed and commissioned at Innord’s facilities in Boucherville, which will ultimately form the basis for a techno-economic feasibility study of the process. The feasibility study will be used to assess the environmental performance of the technology and address the marketability of the final products. If this feasibility study is successful, it is intended that the consortium will continue to work together to bring the BR valorization process to commercialization.”