Rio, Lafarge, Geocycle to reuse aluminum waste to make cement

The Saguenay-Lac-St Jean operation. (Image courtesy of Rio Tinto).

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON: RIO) joined forces with Lafarge Canada, a supplier of building materials, and its subsidiary, Geocycle Canada – which focuses on waste pre-treatment facilities – to reuse waste from the aluminium smelting process to make cement. 

In a press release, the companies said that they have developed a new product called Alextra, which is made from used potlining, as part of the aluminum electrolysis process that would otherwise go to landfill. 

Alextra is expected to create value from waste and reduce the need to extract raw materials

Alextra is expected to reduce the need to extract other raw materials and create value from waste. 

The plan is to have Lafarge Canada use Alextra as an alternative to raw inputs such as alumina and silica, which are commonly refined or mined for use in the manufacturing of cement. The company believes it will be able to produce on average one million tonnes of cement a year at its facilities in Bath, Ontario, using this method.

As this new process takes off, the group will explore options to further expand the supply of Alextra from Rio Tinto’s potlining treatment plant in Saguenay-Lac-St Jean to Lafarge Canada’s network of cement plants.

“This partnership shows how Rio Tinto is innovating to find new ways to reuse waste, generating value from our operations and reducing their environmental footprint,” the miner’s aluminum manager for valorization and marketing, Stéphane Poirier, said in the media brief.

“We have worked closely with Lafarge Canada and Geocycle Canada over the past two years to develop a product that meets their needs and look forward to building on this partnership.” 

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