bauxite residue, adsorption, phosphate removal, phosphorus
Bauxite residue (red mud), the by-product produced in the alumina industry, is being produced at an estimated global rate of approximately 150Mt per annum. Due to its highly alkaline nature, many refineries use neutralisation techniques such as mud farming (atmospheric carbonation), direct carbonation using carbon dioxide or reactions with seawater, to treat the bauxite residue and reduce its alkalinity prior to disposal in the BRDA (bauxite residue disposal area). Applying a treatment can render the bauxite residue non-hazardous and may also prepare the bauxite residue for reuse, particularly as an adsorbent. In this study, gypsum and seawater treatments were applied to the various bauxite residue samples obtained and the effects on its mineral, elemental and physiochemical properties were examined, as well as the effect on its phosphorus (P) adsorption capacity. It was found that in addition to reducing the alkalinity of all bauxite residue samples used, the P adsorption capacity was also enhanced following amendment with seawater or gypsum, particularly with gypsum. A positive correlation was detected between P adsorption and both Ca and CaO. A negative correlation was detected between the P adsorption and pH of the media. Fitting the data obtained from a batch adsorption experiment to the Langmuir adsorption isotherm, the maximum adsorption capacity was estimated to range from 0.345 to 2.73 mg P per g bauxite residue, highlighting the re-use potential for bauxite residue as an adsorbent for P.