Wetland near steel factory


Resource Recovery and Remediation of Alkaline Wastes

University of Hull, and Universities of Leeds, Cardiff, Newcastle and the Open University

This research brings together an interdisciplinary academic team and industrial partners to develop initiatives combining resource recovery from caustic industrial wastes, such as steel slag and bauxite processing residue, with environmental remediation and waste stabilisation. Resource recovery covers various facets, including:

  1. recovery of e-tech metals that are both crucial for modern environmental technologies and simultaneously environmental pollutants (e.g. vanadium),
  2. enhancing carbon sequestration in alkaline wastes,
  3. promoting the broader re-use of bulk by-products without environmental impacts, and
  4. improving remediation strategies at alkaline residue disposal sites.

As well as the technical aspects of the project, we have been critically assessing regulatory and governance frameworks that influence current alkaline residue management through stakeholder discussions and workshops. By integrating the technical and policy review components and working closely with key stakeholders, we hope that the various avenues for improved alkaline residue valorisation identified can be implemented in practice.

Key outputs from the project can be found on the Alkaline Remediation website.


  • Stewart et al. (2018). Hydration of dicalcium silicate and diffusion through neo-formed calcium-silicate-hydrates at weathered surfaces control the long-term leaching behaviour of basic oxygen furnace (BOF) steelmaking slag. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 25 (10), 9861–9872. doi:10.1007/s11356-018-1260-7, Open Access.
  • Bray et al. (2018) Sustained bauxite residue rehabilitation with gypsum and organic matter 16 years after initial treatment. Environmental Science & Technology. 52 (1), 152-161. doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b03568, Open Access.
  • Gomes et al. (2017) Hydraulic and biotic impacts on neutralisation of high-pH waters. Science of the Total Environment. 601, 1271-1279. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.248, Open Access.
  • Johnson et al. (2017) Emerging Trends and New Frontiers in Community Operational Research. European Journal of Operational Research. In press. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2017.11.032, Open Access.
  • Deutz et al. (2017) Resource recovery and remediation of highly alkaline residues: A political-industrial ecology approach to building a circular economy. Geoforum, 85, 336-344. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.03.021, Open Access.
  • Midgley et al. (2017) What is Community Operational Research? European Journal of Operational Research. In pressdoi:10.1016/j.ejor.2017.08.014, Open Access.
  • Hobson et al. (2017) Mechanism of vanadium leaching during surface weathering of basic oxygen furnace steel slag blocks: a microfocus x-ray absorption spectroscopy and electron microscopy study. Environmental Science & Technology. 51 (14), 7823–7830. doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b00874, Open Access.
  • Gomes et al. (2017) Removal and recovery of vanadium from alkaline steel slag leachate with anion exchange resins. Journal of Environmental Management, 187, 384-392. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.10.063, Open Access.
  • Gomes et al. (2016) Vanadium removal and recovery from bauxite residue leachates by ion exchange. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 23(22), 23034-23042. doi:10.1007/s11356-016-7514-3, Open Access.
  • Hodkin et al. (2016) Coprecipitation of 14C and Sr with carbonate precipitates: The importance of reaction kinetics and recrystallization pathways. Science of the Total Environment. 562, 335-343. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.192, Open Access.
  • Mayes et al. (2016) Advances in understanding environmental risks of red mud after the Ajka Spill, Hungary. Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy. 2(4), 332-343. doi:10.1007/s40831-016-0050-z, Open Access.
  • Gomes et al. (2016) Alkaline residues and the environment: A review of impacts, management practices and opportunities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 3571-3582. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.09.111, Open Access.
  • Ding et al. (2016). Role of an organic carbon-rich soil and Fe(III) reduction in reducing the toxicity and environmental mobility of Chromium(VI) at a COPR disposal site. Science of the Total Environment. 541, 1191-1199. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.09.150, Open Access.
  • Riley and Mayes (2015) Long-term evolution of highly alkaline steel slag drainage waters. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 187, (7), 1-16. doi:10.1007/s10661-015-4693-1, Open Access.