Developing scaling-up process to produce haloalkaliphilic bacteria inoculum for industry-deployment to treat alkaline wastes from refining alumina (2024–2025)

Australia's alumina sector is facing multi-billion dollars of liability to rehabilitate thousands of hectares of polluting bauxite residue (or red mud), which have already been accumulated in landscapes of Queensland, Northern Terrirtory and Western Australia. Our recently invented technology (under patent publication number: WO2022099360), eco-engineering bauxite residue into growth media (or soil) capable of supporting vegetation growth has demonstrated its efficacy and field operability, by harnessing the power of functional groups of bacteria which can grow and produce organic acids in extremely alkaline and saline bauxite residue. This technology has been demonstrated in treating bauxite residues into non-hazardous substrate and developing functional soil to support the growth of diverse plant species in large field trials at Gove and central Queensland. This project plans to develop the commercially deployable formulation and methodology for enriching and producing competent haloalkaliphilic bacterial inoculum package, through multi-site testing and evaluation, in partnership with Rio Tinto and Queensland Alumina Refinery. Commercial rollout of this novel technology will require the standardisation and optimisation of the scaling-up process to enrich and produce haloalkaliphilic bacterial inoculum at the industry scale. The outcome will benefit alumina refineries across Australia, achieving sustainable rehabilitation and closure of bauxite residue storage facilities.
Grant type:
Australia's Economic Accelerator Seed Grants
  • Lecturer
    Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation
    Sustainable Minerals Institute
  • Program Leader/Prof Res Fellow
    Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation
    Sustainable Minerals Institute
Funded by:
Commonwealth Department of Education