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EGA signs agreement with University of Queensland to research use of industrial by-product to make soil

Monday, Oct 09, 2017

Emirates Global Aluminium, EGA, has announced that it has signed an agreement with the University of Queensland, Australia, to conduct a three-year research programme into turning a by-product of the alumina industry into soil.

The research project, with the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, will investigate combining bauxite residue with agricultural and domestic wastes to create a soil for greening and other uses. Bauxite residue is a by-product of alumina refining, the process of turning bauxite ore into alumina which is the feedstock for aluminium smelters.

The research project is led by Professor Richard Haynes, a renowned soil scientist and expert in the remediation and rehabilitation of bauxite residue deposits, with expectations of UAE universities to join the research project in the coming years, to help tailor the soil for the UAE’s desert conditions.

EGA is constructing the first alumina refinery in the UAE, next to its Al Taweelah smelter in Abu Dhabi. Industry experts estimate that at least 150 million tonnes of bauxite residue are produced worldwide each year. It is thought that less than two percent of this is currently put to productive use.

While new productive uses for bauxite residue are being developed, EGA will operate a dedicated storage site in line with international best practice, about 30 kilometres inland from the coast in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the announcement, Abdalla Alzarooni, EGA’s Vice President of Technology Development and Transfer, said, "The project at The University of Queensland is cutting edge research that could turn waste into a useful product that fills a need in the UAE. The UAE has set tough targets for the use of bauxite residue, which requires us to take a global lead in finding innovative solutions."

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