A first-of-a-kind system developed in Canada could tackle two of the mining industry’s biggest environmental problems simultaneously. Elly Earls meets Dylan Jones, CEO of Terra CO2 Technologies to find out more about this carbon dioxide-busting acid rock drainage solution.
Acid rock drainage is responsible for huge financial and environmental costs for miners but a Canada-based company may have found an innovative way to tackle the problem, while simultaneously slashing operations’ carbon footprints.
Both acid rock drainage (ARD) and the CO2 emissions associated with running fossil fuel-burning electricity generators are big issues for remote mines. While the emissions contribute to the global march of climate change, ARD – or the outflow of acidic water from metal and coal mines – can harm water systems, wetlands and other environments and habitats.
“One of the major issues of ARD is that it requires perpetual treatment,” explains Dylan Jones, CEO of Terra CO2 Technologies (Terra), a Vancouver-based company set-up with the dedicated goal of tackling both excess atmospheric CO2 and ARD. “Existing ARD treatment systems are quite low-tech and in many cases there are no long-term solutions,” he adds.
“Moreover, on top of the environmental cost associated with ARD, financially, the perpetual nature of past and current ARD is enormous. For example, the Faro mine complex in Yukon Territory will require $1bn of public funds to clean-up the site and prevent future ARD from entering the water stream.”
Developing an emissions strategy
Terra’s solution tackles the ARD issue using sequestered CO2, effectively killing two birds with one stone. “Our technology allows mining companies to treat acid-generating waste effectively and permanently.
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