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Research on bauxite residue re-use wins international award

Hydro's Bauxite & Alumina business has been recognized with the TMS Light Metals Award 2020, promoted by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society. The U.S.-based award is considered one of the most important in the metals sector for innovation projects on a global level. It is the first time a Brazilian project won the award.

Research on re-use of bauxite residue

The article "Bayer Process Towards the Circular Economy – Soil Conditioners from Bauxite Residue" was the winner in the main category and received the Overall Light Metals Awards.

The study presents the first results from research to use bauxite residue from Alunorte, Hydro's refinery in Pará state in Brazil, as a soil conditioner in local agriculture. The same case was also the winner of the Alumina and Bauxite category, winning the Light Metals Subject Awards. The award will be delivered in an event in February 2021 in Florida.

The work is part of the agreement between Hydro and the Senai Institute of Innovation in Mineral Technologies (ISI-TM) signed in 2019 for the development of more-sustainable uses for bauxite residue.

Bauxite residue is a leftover material from the process of refining bauxite into alumina, the main raw material used to make aluminium. 

"This international recognition of our work demonstrates that we are on the right track to make Alunorte a global reference for bauxite residue re-use, consolidating a leading position in the industry. The results of this research will allow the development of alternative products. This will reduce the use of non-renewable conventional raw materials, resulting in the reduction of the company's environmental footprint, as well as promoting an increase in the useful life of the solid waste deposit areas," says Marcelo Montini, Hydro Senior Chemical Consultant.

The research is carried by a team of Masters and Doctors, who use state-of-the-art equipment for the study of process improvement, gains from iron oxide extraction for the steel industry, and creation of a secondary product for soil conditioning and acidity control. "The international recognition of research reinforces the importance of partnerships between industries and institutions of science and technology (ICTs), such as the network of SENAI Institutes of Innovation (ISI), in creating innovative solutions. The first results of the study already present a great potential of contributing to the local productive chain and is an example of good practices for the aluminum sector in the international market," says Adriano Lucheta, Director of the SENAI Institute of Innovation in Mineral Technologies. The research will be concluded in 2022.

Elena Brito Pantoja

Elena Brito Pantoja

Communication and Public Affairs, Hydro Bauxite & Alumina

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