Arca Climate Technologies launches pilot project with BHP to capture CO2 from mine waste

Onsite at BHP’s Mt Keith Nickel West mine in Australia. Image from Arca Climate Technologies.

Arca Climate Technologies launched on Wednesday a pilot project for air-to-rock carbon mineralization using mine tailings at BHP’s Mt Keith Nickel West mine in Australia.

The 18 month project will test Arca’s methodology to capture and permanently store atmospheric carbon dioxide, and demonstrate the technologies can integrate safely at an operating mine.

The Canadian company, spun out of Carbin Minerals, was named last year as one of Canada’s most investable cleantech ventures and has now received a C$1.25 million ($920,000) grant from the B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE). Arca also won a $1 million award from XPRIZE and the Musk Foundation in a carbon removal competition last year.

Arca is one of the first companies commercializing mineralization for the capture and storage of atmospheric CO2 that is supported by scientific research and technology development, the company said in Wednesday’s news release.

Arca’s autonomous rovers monitor and accelerate carbon mineralization. Credit: Arca

Arca enables mines to permanently remove CO2 while producing the metals needed to drive the clean energy transition, it said. Using rovers, surface manipulation technology and machine learning algorithms, Arca manipulates mine tailings to significantly speed up the rate of carbon mineralization; measure critical carbon capture; and sell carbon dioxide removal credits that are verifiable and permanent.

This process, Arca said, is unique because atmospheric CO2 is captured and stored in a single step.

“Massive carbon sink”

UBC Professor of Geological Sciences and Arca co-founder Greg Dipple told MINING.COM in an interview earlier this year that after decades of research, in the lab and in the field, the team discovered new ways to transform mine waste into a “massive carbon sink.”

“Our mineral activation technology significantly accelerates the natural process of carbon mineralization, transforming mine waste into a valuable new resource and climate solution,” Dipple said.

The company is also working with Vale, Talon Metals, Poseidon Nickel, NickelSearch, and Blackstone Minerals to assess and quantify the carbon mineralization potential of their mine tailings.

“There is already far too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Arca CEO Paul Needham said in the statement.

“Support from CICE gives us an opportunity to rapidly pilot our negative emissions technologies with companies that produce critical metals for the clean energy transition.”