Vedanta signs MoU with research institutes for value-creation from bauxite residue

12th April 2021

Bhubaneswar, 12th April 2021: Vedanta, India’s largest producer of aluminium and its value-added products, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for value-creation from bauxite residue (red mud), which is a by-product generated during processing of bauxite into alumina using the Bayer process. Bauxite is the primary ore for aluminium, that undergoes an intermediate refining stage to produce alumina, which then undergoes electrolysis for producing aluminium. Abundantly available on earth’s crust, mining of bauxite is one of the most inherently sustainable mining processes. Approximately three tonnes of bauxite produce one tonne of alumina, and around two tonnes of alumina are required to produce one tonne of aluminium.

Bauxite residue has many metal values like Iron, Alumina, Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Titanium Dioxide. Creating indigenous capabilities for extraction of REEs from bauxite residue has been the brainchild of NITI Aayog, given the importance of Scandium for defence and its scarce availability in India which resulted in import dependency. As it is a voluminous by-product, bauxite residue requires scientific ways of managing it, and even more advanced methodologies to extract commercial value from it.

Along with peer aluminium producers, Vedanta has entered into the partnership with three research institutes namely CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML), Jamshedpur, Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT), Bhubaneswar, and Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research, Development & Design Centre (JNARDDC), Nagpur. As part of this, all three research institutes shall work together to develop technologies for bauxite residue utilization, like red mud beneficiation for REE enrichment, recovery of alumina values, recovery of iron values and process for extraction and separation of Titanium and REEs (La, Ce, Y, Sc). Once established, the processes will be validated through an integrated facility.

Speaking about Vedanta’s partnership in the project, Mr. Rahul Sharma, Dy.CEO – Aluminium, Vedanta Ltd said, “Our world-class operations are guided by the sustainability tenets of ‘Zero Harm, Zero Waste and Zero Discharge’. Implementing new age solutions for efficient waste management and creation of circular economy is ingrained in our decision-making process. In addition to the initiatives already being taken towards ensuring a healthy environment through sustainable ways of working, Vedanta’s robust waste management system and zero discharge mechanisms have set benchmarks in the global alumina refining sector. Under this MoU, we aim to maximize value-extraction from bauxite residue for further usage downstream.”

Globally, as the quest for value-creation from by-products for a circular economy picks momentum, Vedanta has emerged as a trend-setter in the field of alumina refining in terms of by-product reduction and utilization. Innovation has been one of the key pillars in the success of Vedanta Aluminium’s growth story in Lanjigarh (Kalahandi district, Odisha). Since the commencement of operations in the Indian aluminium sector, Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery has rapidly evolved technologically into becoming one of the world’s most advanced alumina refineries.

In 2013, Vedanta had put in place Red Mud Filtration, a first-of-its-kind process for dry handling of bauxite reside in the alumina refining industry. In 2020, the company piloted the Wick Drain project, a new-age waste management system, for even better handling of residue and efficient land usage. Parallelly, it is also working on other avenues to best utilize bauxite residue like cement and brick manufacturing, road construction, backfilling of depleted mine voids, etc.

Vedanta Aluminium & Power Business, a division of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of Aluminium, producing almost half of India’s Aluminium or 1.9 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in FY20, and is also one of the largest private power producers in the country. Vedanta is a leader in value-added Aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. With its world-class smelters, power plants and alumina refinery spread across India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of Aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.

About Vedanta Limited:

Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Limited, is one of the world’s leading Oil & Gas and Metals company with significant operations in Oil & Gas, Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron Ore, Steel, and Aluminium & Power across India, South Africa, Namibia, and Australia. For two decades, Vedanta has been contributing significantly to nation building. Governance and sustainable development are at the core of Vedanta's strategy, with a strong focus on health, safety, and environment. Vedanta has put in place a comprehensive framework dedicating itself to the highest ESG standards to emerge as leaders in this space. It is among the 24 Indian companies who are signatories to the ‘Declaration of the Private Sector on Climate Change’ and is committed to decarbonizing its operations by 2050. Giving back is in the DNA of Vedanta, which is focused on enhancing the lives of local communities. The company’s flagship social impact program, Nand Ghars, have been set up as model anganwadis focused on eradicating child malnutrition, providing education, healthcare, and empowering women with skill development. Under the aegis of the Anil Agarwal Foundation, the umbrella entity for Vedanta’s social initiatives, the Vedanta group has pledged Rs 5000 crore over the next five years on social impact programmes with a thrust on nutrition, women & child development, healthcare, animal welfare, and grass-root level sports. Vedanta and the group companies company have been featured in Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2020, and was conferred Frost & Sullivan Sustainability Awards 2020, CII Environmental Best Practices Award 2020, CSR Health Impact Award 2020, CII National Award 2020 for Excellence in Water Management, CII Digital Transformation Award 2020, ICSI National Award 2020 for excellence in Corporate Governance, People First HR Excellence Award 2020, ‘Company with Great Managers 2020’ by People Business and certified as a Great Place to Work 2021. Vedanta’s flagship Nand Ghar Project was identified as best CSR project by Government of Rajasthan. Vedanta Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange in India and has ADRs listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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About Vedanta Aluminium Business:

Vedanta Aluminium Business, a part of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of Aluminium, producing almost half of India’s aluminium or 1.96 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in FY21. Vedanta is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. With its world-class Aluminium Smelters, Alumina Refinery and Power Plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.

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For Further Information, Please Contact:

Ms. Sonal Choithani
Chief Communications Officer
Aluminium Business, Vedanta Ltd.


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