UC RUSAL has developed acid technology for alumina production of non-bauxite raw materials.

The technology will allow the production of alumina using domestic kaolin clay as a substitution to imported bauxites.

The new technology will boost RUSAL smelters’ economic efficiency thanks to the low cost of the material and the logistical cost reduction. The technology also allows for the simultaneous production of a number of high demand products, including those with silicon oxide and rare-earth metals bases.

Acid technology implementation will create an entire complex of related production and research facilities, having stimulated Russia’s industrial and scientific potential by using modern technologies.

The project is being executed within the strategy framework for raw material safety in the Company’s smelters as well as the import substitution programme, which includes financing from federal target programmes.

At the moment, research and development (“R&D”) works are being conducted by RUSAL’s Engineering and Technology Centre specialists in collaboration with leading academic and educational institutions. As of today, the process flow scheme has been developed, laboratory tests of the main stages of the processes have been conducted, the evaluation of kaolin clay deposits has been completed in Siberia as well as the material’s quality has been confirmed, and the capital and operational costs for its production have been calculated.

The unique demo facility for the production of 1kg of alumina per hour with acid technology will be developed and launched in early 2016. The facility’s major purpose will be to test the technology modes in a closed loop, as well as to confirm consumption indicators and the products’ quality.

Upon R&D completion, the Company’s further plans include the development of a feasibility study to construct an alumina refinery with the production capacity over 1 mln tonnes per year.

“Russia is rich with kaolin clay. Discovered reserves will provide us with more than 200 years’ worth of production. The USA, Canada, China, Norway and Australia have been working for a long time on alumina production using non-bauxite raw materials (kaolins, ashes etc). New technologies are a strong competitive advantage, and no one would sell them aside. We set out this project to utilise acid technology in 2012, and having made notable progress, we are closer than others to achieving positive results,” commented Viktor Mann, Technical Director at RUSAL.