Hindalco signs MoU with UltraTech Cement to deliver 1.2 mn metric tonne of bauxite residue annually

NEW DELHI: Hindalco Industries, a global leader in aluminium and copper, on Thursday said it has signed an MoU with UltraTech Cement to deliver 1.2 million metric tonne of bauxite residue annually to the cement company’s 14 plants located across seven states.

Hindalco claims to be the world’s first company to achieve 100 per cent red mud (bauxite residue) utilisation, across three of its refineries.

“Hindalco…is going to find value from this bauxite residue waste. So this announcement is about 1.2 million tonnes of bauxite residue which is going to one company UltraTech Cement which is India’s largest cement producer,” Hindalco’s Managing Director Satish Pai told PTI.

Red mud generated in the alumina manufacturing process is rich in iron oxides, along with alumina, silica and alkali.

The cement industry has 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 been proved to be an effective substitute for mined materials, successfully replacing up to three per cent of clinker raw mix volume, a company statement said.

Hindalco’s alumina refineries are currently supplying 250,000 metric tonne of bauxite residue to cement companies every month, making Hindalco the world’s first company to have enabled such large scale commercial application of bauxite residue, it said.

Hindalco has been working with cement companies to develop high-grade inputs for the construction industry. It has built a strong customer base and supplies red mud to over 40 cement plants every month, Pai said.

“We have achieved 100 per cent 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,” Pai said.

In the current year, Hindalco aims to achieve 2.5 million metric tonnes of bauxite residue utilisation.

Globally, 160 million metric tonnes of red mud is produced annually and stored in large tracts of land which is a serious industry challenge.

To find a sustainable solution, Hindalco has invested in infrastructure and collaborated with cement companies, with UltraTech Cement being a key partner, the statement 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,” UltraTech Cement Managing Director K C Jhanwar said.

Last year, UltraTech consumed about 15.73 million metric tonnes of industrial waste as alternate raw material and about 300,000 metric tonnes as alternative fuel in its kilns.

“With an annual supply of 1.2 million metric tonne of red mud from Hindalco, we expect to conserve more than 1 million metric tonnes 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,” Jhanwar said.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) represents a significant sustainability initiative for both Hindalco and UltraTech.

Waste of one industry being used as an input material in another is more than an example of a circular economy, it exemplifies Hindalco’s sustainability-first approach to business, the statement said.