New technology for sustainable production of alumina.
Since 2009 Nordic Mining has been engaged in the development of a new technology for alumina production as a sustainable alternative to current production methods. The technology has successfully been developed together with Institute for Energy Technology (“IFE”) and has been patented in several countries including Norway, Russia, USA, Canada and with the European Patent Office.
In June 2019, the Company announced that the EU’s Horizon 2020 program has granted EUR 5.9 million for the ‘AlSiCal Project’ to further develop the technology. AlSiCal is an ambitious research and innovation Project to further research, develop and de-risk the technology, and to assess the technical and economic feasibility.
AlSiCal kick-off meeting with representatives from the Project’s 16 different partners.
The technology, named the Aranda-Mastin technology (AM technology), is a low waste and low carbon footprint alternative to the current alumina production. Today’s alumina production is mainly based on bauxite resources refined through the Bayer process. Bauxite mining and processing is known to have a large environmental impact due to extensive production of toxic waste, carbon emissions and land use. The new technology is an innovative alternative based on alumina/calcium-rich rocks such as anorthosite. Anorthosite is an alumina rich feldspar rock with 30% alumina. With the new technology, anorthosite can be close to fully utilized to produce alumina together with silica and calcium carbonate by-products. The technology includes a carbon consumption process-step allowing for a low carbon footprint.
The production process is based on leaching with hydrochloric acid at moderate temperature and pressure. Silica forms a residue in the leaching process and is extracted as a by-product. Aluminum is extracted through a sparging process and subsequently calcined to form alumina. Precipitated calcium carbonate (“PCC”) is produced by integrating CO2 utilization in the process.
PCC is a commodity used as filler in paper, plastics and paint, and silica is used as filler in tires and plastics, and in the production of cement. The process can potentially consume close to 500,000 tonnes of CO2 per million tonne of alumina which corresponds to the emission from a medium sized oil and gas platform. The CO2 can either be stored safely or utilized as part of the production of PCC. The process aims at being waste free since nearly all the components of the anorthosite are expected to be marketable products.
With the granting of the AlSiCal Project, an ambitious 4-year work plan is in place to further develop the technology. The AlSiCal Project consortium is comprised of 16 international partners from 9 countries. The project has a goal of developing the technology towards a zero-carbon emission production process by including integrated CO2 capture. Nordic Mining is actively participating in the project, leading one of the work packages focused on raw material sources and leaching optimization.
To learn more about the project visit: https://www.alsical.eu/