DUST CONTROL FOR RED MUD RESIDUE OPERATIONS

Kildea, J., O’Brien, K. and Urbani, C.

Dust from red mud tailings operations is an issue for alumina refinery operators globally. The potential for fine caustic dust particles to be whipped up by wind erosion and potentially transferred to nearby locations is a problem affecting both the safe operation of the refineries, as well as neighbouring communities and residences. As a result, effective strategies to control and mitigate dust formation and transport is an essential part of every refinery’s operation. A wide array of dust control products is available and a number have been used extensively across a broad range of mining and mineral processing applications. Recent work has assessed a number of products for their capacity to supress dust formation on the surface of drying red mud. A well-established test method under controlled conditions over a 10 week drying period was used to assess the effectiveness of a range of dust control programs. Test results are presented which show substantial reduction in the generation of dust. Potential application methods are discussed.