Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 147–154 | Cite as

Sequential Extraction of Valuable Trace Elements from Bayer Process-Derived Waste Red Mud Samples

  • Hannian GuEmail author
  • Ning Wang
  • Justin S. J. Hargreaves
Short Communication


Bayer Process-derived red mud produced in China can be classified into three types according to chemical composition: high-iron diaspore red mud, low-iron diaspore red mud, and gibbsite red mud. The specific chemical and mineral compositions of three such typical Bayer-derived red mud samples have been characterized by XRF, ICP-MS, XRD, and SEM. These results, for example, indicate that GX (a high-iron diaspore red mud) contains more than 1015 μg/g lanthanides, 313 μg/g yttrium, 115 μg/g scandium, and 252 μg/g niobium and that HN (a low-iron diaspore red mud) has a high content of lithium (224 μg/g), whereas SD (a gibbsite red mud) possesses a very low valuable trace element content, except for gallium (59.4 μg/g). A sequential extraction procedure was carried out to assess the leachability of valuable trace elements in these three red mud samples. Applying the extraction procedure, 60% of the yttrium in GX and 65% of the lithium in HN could be extracted which would be of interest for trace metal recovery.


Red mud Leachability Sequential extraction Rare earth elements Lithium 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41402039), and Guizhou Provincial Science and Technology Foundation (No. J [2016] 1155). The authors are grateful to Dr W. Liu who provided the red mud samples.

Supplementary material

40831_2018_164_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 24 kb)


  1. 1.
    Wang S, Tadé A, Tadé MO (2008) Novel applications of red mud as coagulant, adsorbent and catalyst for environmentally benign processes. Chemosphere 72:1621–1635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Liu Y, Naidu R, Ming H (2011) Red mud as an amendment for pollutants in solid and liquid phases. Geoderma 1(63):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Borra CR, Blanpain B, Pontikes Y, Binnemans K, Van Gerven T (2016) Recovery of rare earths and other valuable metals from bauxite residue (red mud): a review. J Sustain Metall 2:365–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gräfe M, Power G, Klauber C (2011) Bauxite residue issues: III. Alkalinity and associated chemistry. Hydrometallurgy 108:60–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Evans K (2016) The history, challenges, and new developments in the management and use of bauxite residue. J Sustain Metall 2:316–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Klauber C, Gräfe M, Power G (2011) Bauxite residue issues: II. options for residue utilization. Hydrometallurgy 108:11–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Davris P, Balomenos E, Panias D, Paspaliaris I (2016) Selective leaching of rare earth elements from bauxite residue (red mud), using a functionalized hydrophobic ionic liquid. Hydrometallurgy 164:125–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ghosh I, Guha S, Balasubramaniam R, Kumar AVR (2011) Leaching of metals from fresh and sintered red mud. J Hazard Mater 185:662–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Milačič R, Zuliani T, Ščančar J (2012) Environmental impact of toxic elements in red mud studied by fractionation and speciation procedures. Sci Total Environ 426:359–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gu H, Wang N (2013) Leaching of uranium and thorium from red mud using sequential extraction methods. Fresen Environ Bull 22(9a):2763–2769Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Liu W, Chen X, Li W, Yu Y, Yan K (2014) Environmental assessment, management and utilization of red mud in China. J Clean Prod 84:606–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tessier A, Campbel PGC, Bisson M (1979) Sequential extraction procedure for the speciation of particulate trace metals. Anal Chem 51(7):844–851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gu H, Hargreaves JSJ, JiangJ-Q Rico JL (2017) Potential routes to obtain value-added iron-containing compounds from red mud. J Sustain Metall 3(3):561–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Samouhos M, Taxiarchou M, Pilatos G, Tsakiridis PE, Devlin E, Pissas M (2017) Controlled reduction of red mud by H2 followed by magnetic separation. Miner Eng 105:36–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gu H, Wang N, Liu S (2012) Characterization of Bayer red mud from Guizhou, China. Miner Metall Proc 29(3):169–171Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Smith P (2017) Reactions of lime under high temperature Bayer digestion conditions. Hydrometallurgy 170:16–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Deady ÉA, Mouchos E, Goodenough K, Williamson BJ, Wall F (2016) A review of the potential for rare-earth element resources from European red muds: examples from Seydişehir, Turkey and Parnassus-Giona, Greece. Mineral Mag 80(1):43–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wang D, Li P, Qu W, Yin L, Zhao Z, Lei Z, Wen S (2013) Discovery and preliminary study of the high tungsten and lithium contents in the Dazhuyuan bauxite deposit, Guizhou, China. Sci China Earth Sci 56(1):145–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gu H, Hargreaves JSJ, McFarlane AR, MacKinnon G (2016) The carbon deposits formed by reaction of a series of red mud samples with methanol. RSC Adv 6(52):46421–46426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Reichel S, Aubel T, Patzig A, Janneck E, Martin M (2017) Lithium recovery from lithium-containing micas using sulfur oxidizing microorganisms. Miner Eng 106:18–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannian Gu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ning Wang
    • 1
  • Justin S. J. Hargreaves
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of High-temperature and High-pressure Study of the Earth’s Interior, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.West CHEM, School of Chemistry, Joseph Black BuildingUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations