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Comment Processing & Handling

An economical way to extract more alumina from bauxite

By Chemical Engineering |

Alumina refining by the Bayer process involves the digestion of bauxite ore with caustic soda, which produces “green liquor,” from which alumina is recovered, and a bauxite residue, called red mud, which is stored in large disposal areas. A typical refinery (2-million m.t./yr) produces about 1.4 tons of bauxite-residue per ton of alumina recovered, which translates into about 2.8-million m.t./yr of red mud having to be disposed. Therefore, efforts have been underway to develop new processes to extract more alumina from bauxite residue, thereby reducing the volume generated. A step in this direction is the M2M-Technology (mud-to-money) process, which was developed by Alcor Technology B.V. (Oegstegeest; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6898-538) and Alfa Laval Benelux B.V. (ALB; Breda, both Netherlands; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6898-539). M2M-Technology is a patented combination of well-known re-digestion and spiral heat-exchanger (SHE) technology. The second digestion step is inserted in the transfer line between decanter underflow and the first washer (flowsheet). The first digester is used to maximize the liquor A/C ratio (alumina-to-caustic concentration), while the second digester serves to maximize alumina extraction from…
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