Webinar to focus on using hard rock mine waste to enhance carbon mineralization

Dr. Guy Mercier

Dr. Guy Mercier

What: Webinar on using hard rock mine waste to accelerate carbon mineralization
Who: Dr. Guy Mercier, INRS, Dr. Greg Dipple, UBC
When: Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 1 pm MT

To Register

CMC is hosting a webinar focusing on two carbon sequestration methods that involve waste rock from mines.

Featured speakers for the May 14 webinar are Dr. Greg Dipple, Department Head for Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Guy Mercier, of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique in Quebec. Both researchers are working on enhancing carbonation processes and both are using waste rock from mines, albeit using very different processes.

The webinar is one of a series CMC is developing to take research to a wider audience that includes industry stakeholders as well as other researchers in Canada and abroad.

“Our investigators are working on processes and technologies that we believe are of interest to industry stakeholders and to other researchers. The processes on which Dr. Mercier and Dr. Dipple are working will help reduce carbon emissions in industry and have the added benefit of saving costs for those industries,” said Richard Adamson, CMC Managing Director.

Crushed rock in flue gas streams

Mercier is working with an international team of researchers to develop a process that would see steel, coal and cement plants as well as oil and gas facilities remove most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from their emissions through chemical reactions with various types of crushed rocks in the stacks. Waste materials, such as rock, concrete or mine tailings, are crushed into a powder form and then released into a plant’s flue gas stream. The resulting chemical reaction removes about 80% of the CO2. The resulting carbonate byproducts can be sold to a variety of industries for use as a refractory material or an alkaline agent in wastewater treatment.

“This will allow companies to profit while sequestering CO2, says Mercier.

Accelerated mineralization with mine tailings

Dipple and his colleagues are also using mine waste material to sequester CO2 but they are working with mine tailings in ponds. One area of investigation involves increasing the concentration of CO2 supplied to a slurry similar in chemical composition to tailing process water. Results show a 200-fold rate of increase over atmospheric weathering just by increasing the concentration of CO2 in the air passed through the slurry to 10%.

In a second approach Dipple’s team is using an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, to catalyse the hydration of aqueous CO2 to a form that can be mineralized. Ultimately, the team plans to combine both methods – higher concentrations of CO2 will be used with the enzyme – for a vastly accelerated mineralization process.

Dipple points out that in mine waste rock and tailings that are rich in magnesium silicate minerals, carbon fixation capacity is much larger than total greenhouse gas production from mine operations. Some large mines could therefore operate as net carbon sinks, turning their mine waste into a resource by absorbing the carbon dioxide emissions of other industries.

The webinar begins at 1 pm MT on May 14, 2013. To register for this free event go to: