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A review on the potential uses of red mud as amendment for pollution control in environmental media

Taneez, Mehwish, Hurel, Charlotte
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.22 pp. 22106-22125
acid mine drainage, acid soils, alkalinity, aluminum oxide, anions, bauxite, cost effectiveness, dyes, inventories, iron, leaching, metal ions, neutralization, particle size, phenols, remediation, sediments, solid wastes, toxic substances, toxicity
Red mud is a solid waste of bauxite processing by Bayer process which involves caustic digestion of Al-containing mineral for alumina production. The global inventory of red mud waste reached an estimated amount of 4 billion tons in 2015, increasing at an approximate rate of 120 million tons per year. Therefore, its management is becoming a global environmental issue for the protection of environment, and the need for awareness in this regard is becoming crucial. Although red mud is not considered as a hazardous material in many countries, its high alkalinity and fine particle size may pose significant environmental threat, and it is found to be an interesting material for environmental remediation purposes due to rich iron content. This paper provides a review of possible remedial applications of red mud in various environmental compartments. Modification of red mud creates novel opportunities for cost-effective and efficient removal of metal ions, inorganic anions, dyes, and phenols from wastewater and acid mine drainage. Re-vegetation of red mud disposal sites, treatment of metal-contaminated acidic soils presents the usefulness of this material but less research has been done so far to investigate its use in the stabilization of polluted sediments. On the other hand, leaching and eco-toxicological tests have also revealed that red mud does not pose high toxicity to the environment making it suitable for the treatment of contaminated media. Nevertheless, neutralization of red mud is recommended for its safe disposal and secure application in any environmental media.