International Aluminium Institute launches Bauxite Residue Roadmap

The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) has today launched the Bauxite Residue Roadmap to maximise the use of bauxite residue in cement and concrete products. The roadmap provides information that addresses concerns, prejudices, technical and legislative barriers to bauxite residue use.

According to the IAI, bauxite residue production is likely to reach approximately one hundred and sixty million tonnes (Mt) in 2020 and a 7 to 8 billion tonne inventory by 2040.

Launching the roadmap, Katy Tsesmelis Director – Refining & Safety at the IAI noted:

“Global metallurgical alumina production is forecasted to increase from 124 million tonnes in 2019 to 178 million tonnes by 2040. As alumina production increases so too will the production of bauxite residue (BR), which is generated by the extraction of alumina from bauxite during the Bayer process. As an industry, we are committed to finding solutions to minimise the social, environmental and economic impacts of bauxite residue.”

This roadmap has identified six key pathways that can help the industry deliver success:

  • Provide solutions to existing barriers and fill knowledge gaps;
  • Establish joint research projects between alumina, cement & concrete producers to investigate the use of BR in Portland Cement Clinker (PCC) or Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM) for blended cement and develop technical approval documents;
  • Demonstrate benefits in carbon dioxide emission reduction that can be achieved using BR in PCC & SCM for blended cements;
  • Establish the level of interest & preparedness in incorporating BR in PCC & SCM for blended cements;
  • Encourage the use of BR in cement & concrete products to further the circular economy; and Promote the use of BR in PCC & SCM for blended cements in sourcing & public procurement policies;

The success of these pathways requires collaboration and commitment between several industry and other stakeholders. Alongside the roadmap is a Bauxite Residue in Cement Calculation Tool that provides a simple assessment of the possible benefits of bauxite residue in cement products.

The energy, environmental and financial benefits of using BR in the cement and concrete industry are not well understood. This Tool evaluates electricity use, fuel consumption, expected emissions and related costs per tonne of material produced, comparing all possible scenarios of adding the residue to the baseline of the normal operation of the cement plant.

In a related development, the IAI, 7 European alumina producers and global cement producer LafargeHolcim, together with 12 other partners, has received EUR 8.8 million of EU funding for an initiative aiming to transform bauxite residue into an active material for new sustainable cement products. With the goal of substituting about 30% of clinker, the main component in the cement-making process, this will be an important milestone for both industries. LafargeHolcim is coordinating the project, named ReActiv (H2020 ECGA 958208).

The IAI’s role is to foster collaboration between alumina companies to use their combined strength to solve an industry-wide challenge. The IAI will also provide expertise and help in disseminating and communicating project results.

“With this new funding, comes the opportunity to test and scale up the use of technologies to enable the use of by-products in other industrial sectors. The IAI is looking forward to working with all the organisations involved to ensure that the success and outcomes of this project can be replicated elsewhere”,

Ms Tsesmelis said.

Download the Bauxite Residue in Cement Roadmap