Hindalco Industries has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UltraTech Cement, India’s largest manufacturer of cement and concrete, to deliver 1.2 Mt/y of red mud to UltraTech’s 14 plants located across seven states. This agreement will see Hindalco become the world’s first company to achieve 100% red mud utilisation across three of its refineries, it says.
Red mud generated in the alumina manufacturing process is rich in iron oxides, along with alumina, silica and alkali, with the cement industry, Hindalco says, having developed the capability to process red mud as a replacement for mined minerals such as laterite and lithomarge in its process.
Hindalco is supplying red mud to UltraTech Cement plants where it has proved to be an effective substitute for mined materials, successfully replacing up to 3% of clinker raw mix volume, according to the company.
“Use of red mud reduces the cement industry’s dependence on natural resources and promotes a circular economy,” Hindalco said.
Hindalco’s alumina refineries are currently supplying 250,000 t/mth of bauxite residue to cement companies, making Hindalco the world’s first company to have enabled such large scale commercial application of bauxite residue. In the current year, Hindalco aims to achieve 2.5 Mt of bauxite residue utilisation, which will be another global milestone, it says.
Satish Pai, Managing Director of Hindalco, said: “Hindalco has been working with cement companies to develop high-grade inputs for the construction industry. Hindalco has built a strong customer base and supplies red mud to over 40 cement plants every month. We have achieved 100% red mud utilisation at three of our refineries and our vision is to achieve zero-waste alumina production across our operations. Hindalco’s actions underscore our commitment to embracing solutions that have the potential to deliver long-term sustainability impact and transform the future.”
Globally, 160 Mt of red mud is produced annually and stored in large tracts of land which is a serious industry challenge, Hindalco says. To find a sustainable solution, Hindalco has invested in infrastructure and collaborated with cement companies, with UltraTech Cement being a key partner.
KC Jhanwar, Managing Director of UltraTech Cement, said: “UltraTech has been among the early adopters in India on the use of alternative raw materials and fuels in manufacturing and invested to build storage, handling and processing facilities. Use of waste like red mud as an alternative raw material for manufacturing cement requires infrastructure and process modification to ensure a win-win for both business and the environment.”
Last year, UltraTech consumed about 15.73 Mt of industrial waste as alternate raw material and about 300,000 t as alternative fuel in its kilns.
Jhanwar added: “With an annual supply of 1.2 Mt of red mud from Hindalco, we expect to conserve more than 1 Mt of mined natural resources like laterite in our manufacturing process. Enhancing our contribution to the circular economy by strategically increasing the use of waste as raw material and fuel in the cement manufacturing process is in line with our aim to achieve our long-term sustainability goals.”