A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU was signed between CSIR Institute of Metal and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT), Bhubaneswar; CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory (CSIR-NML), Jamshedpur; National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO), on 31 March for extraction of Rare Earth Elements (REE), from Red Mud(Aluminum waste).
Also part of MoU is the Nagpur-based institute Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development Design Centre (JNARDDC) and Hindalco Industries Limited and Vedanta Limited, as reported by The Hitavada.
This will help in reducing import dependence on China for REE and will boost the Aatmnirbhar Bharat Mission. China today controls nearly 90 per cent of global rare earth production.
Red Mud is produced in alumina extraction from bauxite; around 1-ton alumina extract generates 1-1.5 tonnes of red Mud.
"Scandium is one of the strategic element in the group of REEs, which is utilise in space and defence technologies at large number(sic). India produce 10 million tonnes of red Mud per annum in which we can extract about 4,000 tonnes of Scandium per annum,” told Dr Anupam Agnihotri, Director, JNARDDC, to The Hitavada.
India is the fourth-largest producer of aluminium in the world, with a share of around 5.3 per cent of the global aluminium output.
JNARDDC is the only institution in the country that invented a technology to extract REE from red Mud and also to reuse red Mud for other commercial activities. Today, we are just reusing 1% of red Mud and the remaining 99% is just dumped as a waste", added Agnihotri.
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