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By Shane Lasley
Metal Tech News 

Aluminum waste to critical minerals asset

Rare earth recycling tech offers solution to red mud problem Metal Tech News – May 26, 2021

 

Last updated 5/25/2021 at 3:36pm

red mud REE rare earth elemetns alumina recycling Geomega Resources Innord

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This storage facility in Germany demonstrates why bauxite residue is often called red mud. A process being developed by Innord could extract critical minerals from red mud while also significantly reducing the quantities of aluminum processing waste materials that need to be stored.

Though originally developed to recover rare earths from recycled magnets and potential ore from its Montviel REE deposit in Quebec, Geomega Resources Inc.'s rare earths and critical minerals extraction technology may draw value from and reduce the environmental footprint of bauxite residues piling up at aluminum refineries.

Innord, a subsidiary of Geomega focused on developing solutions to large industrial mine waste challenges with its technology to extract critical minerals, has entered a research agreement with an undisclosed international partner to study the use of its environmentally friendly process to extract rare earths, scandium, and other critical metals from the readily available waste material being generated during refining of alumina using the Bayer process.

Commonly referred to as red mud, a reference to the color and consistency of this waste material, bauxite residues are typically stored in large containment facilities. The large quantities of this ofttimes caustic red mud have led researchers and refiners to seek alternative uses for it.

The process being developed and tested at the bench scale by Innord has the potential to significantly reduce the quantities of this red mud that would need to be stored at aluminum refineries.

"We are thrilled to be working on such an important environmental global challenge," said Geomega Resources President and CEO Kiril Mugerman. "Aluminum, the most produced non-ferrous metal in the world, is a key material of the 21st century for such major industries as transportation, aviation, construction, and many other sectors. In the environmentally conscious world we now live in, local environmental regulations and social acceptability dictate that now is the time to find a solution to BR (bauxite residue) storage."

At the same time as reducing the environmental footprint, the Innord process would also transform red mud from a liability to an alternative source of metals critical to modern technological applications.

"There is a tremendous economic potential benefit as well, as every tonne (metric ton) of BR contains between US$80 and US$120 worth of critical and strategic metals that are becoming imperative to recover," said Muggerman. "We believe that Innord's technology is well-positioned to offer economic and environmentally innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. We look forward to continue advancing the technology towards larger-scale testing."

This work will continue to test and validate the process at the bench scale in preparation for potential pilot testing that could provide data for a feasibility study that details the economic and design parameters of the technology.

Innord's unnamed industrial partner will be contributing material for this testing and expertise on various product stream specifications.

Ownership of the intellectual property developed by Innord through this research work will remain with Geomega. If the testing proves the Innord developed bauxite residue processing technology to be economically and environmentally feasible at the industrial scale, Geomega intends to make it available globally through a licensing and royalty structure.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

With more than 14 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 907-726-1095
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