A news release on the website of Carbon Management Canada reports that the research of mining engineers and geologists of the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Ontario on the potential of mine waste to storage CO2 contains promising results.
Digging, trucking and processing make mining an energy-intensive industry that emits greenhouse gases. However, mine waste rock that is rich in the mineral magnesium silicate has an inherent ability to react with CO2 and chemically “fix” it in place as magnesium carbonate—an ability that can be greatly enhanced with some processing. Hitch and his colleagues note that this capacity for CO2 fixation can be five to ten times greater than total greenhouse gas production from some mine operations. Nickel, diamond, copper, chromite, platinum, palladium, talc, and asbestos mines could all be contenders. Some large mines, the researchers add, could fix 5 million tonnes or more of CO2 per year.