Alumtek Minerals delivers breakthrough in SCM production

  Alumtek Minerals delivers breakthrough in SCM production
19 March 2024

Alumtek Minerals (AM) has recently completed research and development on bauxite residue waste, commonly known as ‘red mud’. Most notably, AM has developed a supplementary cementitious material (SCM) meeting the stringent Australian Standard AS3582.4. The company is now actively seeking joint venture partners to propel this innovative solution to the next level, demonstrating its commitment to driving sustainable practices within the cement industry.

Red mud is an alkaline by-product of the alumina industry and is usually stored in tailing dams. In cement production, it requires less processing than clinker production, leading to a number of key benefits for miners and cement manufacturers. Collaborating closely with Cement Australia over the past two years, AM’s process has enabled it to successfully remove the alkalinity and chloride impurities from the red mud. 

AM’s SCM not only serves as a viable replacement for fly ash and slag but also offers significant environmental advantages. When used to replace a portion of clinker in cement production, AM's SCM has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions substantially. When used as a SCM in the production of green concrete, it has been found to overcome some of the limitations of green concrete, such as delayed setting times and reduced initial strength. 

The environmental benefits of AM's SCM are multifaceted: 
• Reduction in CO2 emissions: utilising red mud, which requires less processing compared to clinker, significantly reduces the total CO2 emissions from the cement manufacturing process.
• Conservation of resources: by incorporating a by-product from other industrial processes, the cement industry can lessen its demand for virgin raw materials, contributing to the conservation of natural resources.
• Waste diversion: by utilising red mud, an industrial waste, AM’s SCM diverts waste from landfills, mitigating the environmental impact associated with waste disposal.
• Energy efficiency: the production of AM's SCM is more energy-efficient than traditional clinker production, resulting in energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

This milestone comes as a result of a Cooperative Research Centres Project (CRCP) grant, showcasing the company's commitment to innovation and sustainability. As coal-fired power stations close down and fly ash supplies diminish, the availability of ground granulated blastfurnace slag (GGBS) is also expected to dwindle as steelworks decarbonise.

AM's SCM emerges as a sustainable local alternative, offering Australian cement and concrete companies an opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions, decrease imports and support local production. 

Published under Cement News