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2009 Case Study: Red Sand used in Major New WA Highway

The new Perth Bunbury Highway road network is helping to pioneer a breakthrough in the transformation of bauxite residue.
Two high-profile trials in 2009 by the WA-based Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Resource Processing (CSRP), supported by Alcoa, used treated bauxite residue for road base and nutrient filters. 

CSRP CEO, Stevan Green, said that the trials effectively recast by-products as useful materials.

“We have made some major advances in recent years to develop the technology for converting mining and energy sector residues into potentially valuable construction and agricultural materials”, he said.

In the first trial, more than 2500 cubic metres of sand was extracted from bauxite residue and used as road base to widen the Greenlands Road access to the new highway near Pinjarra.
CSRP has developed ReSand® which is a concept that assesses the ecological footprint or impact of sand sourced from recovered material, such as mineral residues, compared with conventionally sourced quarry sand.  This gives developers, regulators and the community an assurance that the use of these residue materials is in fact the best outcome for the environment and for society.
Mr Green said the recovery of construction sand from mineral residues would have a range of potential benefits: “These benefits can lead to reduced costs, less energy and water use and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

In the second trial associated with the Perth Bunbury Highway, a demonstration “nutrient trap” was installed by the side of the new road. The trap collects water run-off and removes nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates, to help prevent algal blooms in the surrounding waterways.

The CSRP worked with Alcoa, the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, Main Roads WA, Southern Gateway Alliance, Wallis Water and other project partners to establish these and other projects.