Bahrain firm wins $25m unique project in NZ
Manama, June 3, 2011
A Bahrain company has won a $25 million contract to process dross from an aluminium smelter in New Zealand that could transform the way that waste from smelters across the world is recycled.
Bahrain-based Taha International Corporation has won the pilot project at the New Zealand International Smelters plant in southern New Zealand at Tiwai from Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest mineral companies, said a Gulf Daily News report.
If it proves a success, then the Taha process could be rolled out across the world.
Taha has developed its process working closely with Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mills Company (Garmco) in Bahrain and is currently in talks with smelters in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Alba about introducing its system.
Traditionally aluminium is extracted from dross left over from the smelter process by using chemicals and this results in the production of toxic waste.
"Working closely with Garmco over six years, we have developed a process for the efficient and environmentally friendly recovery of aluminium from dross, a by-product of the aluminium melting process," said Taha founder Frank Pollmann.
"Basically what we do is use the energy in the hot dross to extract more aluminium on site at the smelter and then extract more aluminium using a mechanical process which leaves us with aluminium oxide.
"This means that instead of being left with a residue that is toxic waste, you are left with a product that can be used in making fertiliser," he added.
The New Zealand contract is for five years but Pollmann is confident the success of this project will see his process developed in Bahrain become a force across the world in aluminium smelting.
"The traditional method used in smelters is having a very negative effect on the environment," he said. "We have introduced a process that does not need any additives which later on pollute the soil.
"We have signed a long-term contract with Garmco who have really encouraged us and nurtured our technology, for the processing of all its dross and is in negotiations to do the same for other companies in the Gulf region that operate aluminium melting furnaces," he added.
Taha Asia Pacific director Hamish McCallum said about $5 million was being spent to build the plant needed at the smelter in New Zealand to process dross.
"It is 100 per cent the first time it has ever happened in the world - we actually by default solved a lot of environmental problems caused by storing dross.
"It is one for new Zealand and one for us in terms of turning a waste product into something valuable," he said.
"Working on a pilot project for the world's largest mineral mining and processing companies means that this gives us the opportunity to roll this technology out from Bahrain across the world," Mr Pollmann added. - TradeArabia News Service