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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Kurtz, Horace F.
Bauxite,   pp. 189-204 PDF (1.6 MB)

Page 204

weak basic solution such as aqueous ammonia and recovered for fertilizer
use. The residue, containing the alumina, was treated successively with a
weak acid and a strong acid, forming a basic aluminum salt and alumina trihydrate,
which was filtered and calcined. Aluminum recoveries at a 5ton-per-day pilot
plant reportedly ranged between 90% and 92%.4 
 A joint venture of Earth Sciences, Inc., National Steel Corp., and Southwire
Co., continued field investigrtions of alunite deposits at the southern end
of the Wah Wah Mountains in Beaver County, Utah. The companies reportedly
controlled indicated and inferred reserves of over 680 million tons of alunite-bearing
rock in the area, containing over 40% alunite, equivalent to 100 million
tons A12O3, and had interests in other alunite properties in Utah, Colorado,
Arizona, and Nevada. The joint venture was investigating a proprietary process
to recover alumina and potassium sulfate -from alunite, believed to be similar
to the process that was under development in Mexico. 
 Based on present alumina plant capacities, a commercial plant utilizing
alunite probably would require a deposit containing 50 million tons of alunite,
equivalent to 8 million tons of alumina. Since there has -been no domestic
commercial use of alunite as a source of alumina, little information on reserves
was formerly available. 
 Anorthosite, an aluminum silicate mineral, also was being considered as
a possible alternate source of aluminum. Alcoa purchased an 8,000-acre deposit
of anorthosite containing about 28% alumina, in Wyoming and continued to
study ways to recover aluminum from such material. The Bureau of Mines released
two reports on its investigations of dawsonite, a sodium-aluminum carbonate
mineral which occurs in Colorado oil shale deposits and is a potential source
of aluminum.5 
 Results of studies of the mineralogy, geochemistry, geology, and genesis
of bauxite deposits throughout the world were pu-blished.6 
 Nikkei Sangyo, a subsidiary of Nippon Light Metals Co., was starting up
the worlds first commercial plant using red mud to produce a substitute for
fluorspar in making steel.7 Red mud is a solid waste generated in -producing
alumina from bauxite. About 1 ton of red mud is generated for each ton of
alumina produced. At most alumina plants red mud is impounded in red mud
lakes and represents a loss of space as well as of sodium and aluminum values.
 Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. developed a method for handling red
mud from its Baton Rouge and Gramercy alumina plants in Louisiana in lieu
of dumping it in the Mississippi River. The mud will be transported by pipeline
from the alumina plants to - storage areas on company property where it will
be poured over a layer of river sand and dewatered. The resulting alkaline
solution will be pumped back to the alumina -plant and recycled. The dewatered
red mud will then be covered with topsoil and planted or removed from the
site and used as landfill and for other purposes. 
 The red mud treatment system at both plants was expected to be completed
by mid-1975 and cost in excess of $25 million.8 
 4 Parkinson, G. Low-Grade Alunite Yields Alumina and Fertilizers Too. Chem.
Eng., v. 78, No. 9, Apr. 19, 1971, pp. 83—85. 
 5 Smith, J. W., T. N. Beard, and P. M. Wade. 
Estimating Nahcolite and Dawsonite Content of 
Colorado Oil Shale From Oil-Yield Assay Data. 
BuMines RI 7689, 1972, 24 pp. 
 Jackson, J., Jr., C. W. Huggins, and S. G. Ampian. Synthesis and Characterization
of Dawsonite. BuMines RI 7664, 1972, 14 pp. 
 6 Valeton, I. Bauxites. Developments in Soil Science 1. Elsevier Publishing
Co., Amsterdam, London, New York, 1972, 226 pp. 
 7 Industrial Minerals. Interest Grows in "Red Mud" Substitute for Fluorspar.
No. 60, September 1972, pp. 34, 35. 
 8 Metal Bulletin. Kaiser Red Mud. No. 5744, Oct. 24, 1972, p. 17. 

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