BHUBANESWAR: Union Mines Secretary Anil Mukim called on aluminum industries to develop state-of-the-art technology for extracting iron from red mud on a commercial scale in order to reduce cost of production and generate more revenue.
Speaking at the 7th International Conference on Aluminium (INCAL) 2019 here on Thursday, Mukim said one tonne of production of alumina leads to output of 1.5 tonne of red mud which is generally wasted.
“There is a need to convert the waste into wealth. Red mud contains 25 to 30 per cent of iron. Industries need to work on development for appropriate technology which would help convert the red mud into iron on commercial scale,” he said.
India has the fifth largest bauxite reserve with deposits of about 3.8 billion tonne while only 17 per cent of the deposit has been explored so far offering huge opportunity for exploration.
In order to boost bauxite reserve, Mukim said steps should be taken for using low-grade bauxite as well as developing technology to extract alumina from Partially Laterite Khondalite (PLK) which is now taken out as overburden and used for mine filing.
Since power constitutes nearly 40 per cent of the cost of production, reduction in energy consumption is key to make aluminium sector competitive. Focus should be on recycling of aluminium products as it would help reduce 15 per cent of energy consumption, he said.
The Union Secretary also suggested aluminium producers to go for collection of scrap and its proper processing for developing a circular economy. Existing level of value addition in the country needs to be stepped up by encouraging downstream units, he maintained.
Stating that rising costs can also be handled by extending the value chain and encouraging downstream units, Mukim said at least 75 per cent of the ingot produced in the country needs to be processed in downstream units which will create employment opportunities.
“Since the scope and requirement of high-end products in aerospace, railways, defence and other areas are going to increase manifold, efforts should be made to produce more of such materials. India produces around 3.4 million tonne of aluminium and consumes about 3.6 million tonne. The demand is expected to get doubled in five years,” he added.
Industries Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said since Odisha witnessed seven fold increase in aluminium production in the last over one decade and the production is likely to be doubled in next five years, the focus is on to convert at least 50 per cent of metal produced in the State to finished product.
Among others, Chairman of Aluminium Association of India Tapan Chand, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Phan Sansh Chau and Ambassador of Myanmar to India Moe Kyaw Aung also spoke.
More than 850 delegates are participating in the three-day global summit. Among them, around 150 are foreign delegates from 20 countries including ambassadors of Vietnam and Myanmar, Consul Generals from Italy, Norway and Thailand and High Commissioners.