OST Business Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 19:
Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) has commissioned a red mud powder producing unit at Lanjigarh refinery in Kalahandi district, which it claims is the first of its kind in alumina industry.
The system has been developed in-house after continuous research for more than three years, the company said in a release.
According to Mukesh Kumar, president and COO of VAL, the Rs 50-crore project commissioned last week is the first of its kind in the world.
The project would save caustic consumption by 10-15 kg per tonne of alumina, minimise land requirement by 50 to 60 per cent, and do away with wet red mud storage thereby eliminating environmental hazards, Kumar said, adding that the powdery red mud can easily be utilised in cement and other industries.
Red mud is a waste from alumina industry and its disposal and utilisation has always been a matter of concern for environmentalists as well as alumina industry.
Although alumina technology is more than 100 years old, there was no solution until now to avoid storage of red mud slurry, sources said.
As the slurry is alkaline in nature and its generation is nearly one and a half times of the alumina produced, millions of tonnes of red mud is lying in various red mud ponds the world over except in some countries where it is discharged into the sea.
Looking into the serious nature of hazard such red mud ponds may involve, the Union ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has recently formed National Mission for Red Mud, a special project, to sponsor and promote research in the utilisation of red mud.