Project accelerates natural process that uses mine waste to trap greenhouse gases
The Canadian government is investing millions in a research project that has the potential to make some mining operations carbon neutral.
Greg Dipple, a professor of geology at the University of British Columbia, has been working with three other universities and three mining companies, among other groups, to use tailings from mining operations to strip carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to a stable mineral form, trapped in cement-like rock.
“It’s essentially the acceleration of a natural process called chemical weathering,” said Dipple. “The difference here is … we can do it in a timescale of minutes to hours to days to weeks rather than hundreds or millions of years.”
N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod was in Yellowknife Tuesday on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, to announce $2 million for the research, which will be conducted at the Gahcho Kue diamond mine, as well as at a nickel mine in B.C.
Dipple says about 15 years ago, scientists had the idea to accelerate this process using industrial chemical reactors. This project gave Dipple the idea to check out existing waste from past mines rather than building a big reactor to do the job.
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