Authors: Webb, D; Gassner, F

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Webb, D & Gassner, F 2024, 'Sustainable design for construction and operation of a storage area for filter press bauxite residue in a desert environment', in AB Fourie & D Reid (eds), Paste 2024: Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 199-204,

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Bauxite residue produced via the Bayer process is of a high pH and as such is typically considered to pose a significant risk to the environment. Accordingly, storage facilities for bauxite residue are typically designed and constructed to incorporate a low permeability liner system. A concept design was developed by others based on conventional compacted clay liners and large perimeter embankments. The region did not possess the materials typically required for construction of a low permeability liner system (i.e. clay and water), so a revised design was developed which resulted in a more sustainable solution by substantially reducing construction costs, required resources and greenhouse gas emissions associated with material transport. This included reduced earthworks requirements, maximising the use of site won materials, minimising the need to import water and crushed rock, and eliminating the need to import clay. Specialist accelerated durability testing was conducted on the proposed liner materials to ensure the liner system would perform satisfactorily under the anticipated extreme exposure conditions, including a highly alkaline environment. Due to the risk of residue dusting, a laboratory-based dust suppression study was undertaken during the design stage to help understand dust suppression requirements for the facility in this hot, dry and windy environment. In addition, in an effort to reduce the risk of dust generation, the facility was designed to facilitate progressive rehabilitation, using site won materials excavated to construct the baseliner of the facility. This limits the exposed area of residue and the associated risk of dust generation..

Keywords: bauxite residue, dry stack, filter press, geosynthetics, alumina, sustainable dust suppression

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