Neutralised 'red mud' cuts risk

THE Hungarian aluminium plant whose bauxite tailings (‘red mud') dam broke, killing seven people and injuring hundreds on Monday, is not the same as QAL's Red Mud Dam in Gladstone, a QAL spokesman said.

The broken dam released a thick sludge of red mud onto the nearby village covering it with a 2m layer of waste.

Contact with skin causes chemical burns and local agencies warn it is toxic when ingested.

“The QAL dam is inspected daily by specialised dam operations staff, who are trained to recognise conditions that could compromise dam integrity, or indicate that an unsafe condition is developing,” the QAL spokesman said.

“The QAL dam is inspected annually by an independent dams design expert, to check structural integrity.

“QAL uses saltwater to neutralise the pH levels of the red mud which lowers the environmental risk posed by the dam.”



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