Mineral exploration company FPX Nickel has disclosed new testing results that continue to show the carbon capture and storage (CCS) potential in mining (more specifically in mine tailings) in its Baptiste project in British Columbia.
Led by researchers from the University of British Columbia, the testing was co-funded by the Canadian government and FPX Nickel.
For over 10 years, researchers have explored ways to maximize the reaction between carbon and brucite in contrast to serpentine, olivine, and other silicates, which commonly comprise nickel and mafic rock residue.
When CO2 reacts with brucite – a process known as carbon mineralization – the carbon is bound in solid magnesium carbonate.
During the latest tests, CO2 was injected into three different tailing samples to evaluate the sequestration potential.
When 10% carbon was injected vertically into the samples, all tests showed rates of carbon mineralization ranging from 7.3 to 8.4 grams of carbon sequestered for each kilogram of tailings.
The achieved mineralization is both permanent and verifiable, FPX Nickel said.
“Since 2016, FPX has been a leader in defining the opportunity for large-scale permanent CCS in the mining industry,” said Martin Turenne, FPX Nickel’s president and CEO. “These new results were achieved using representative tailings material generated from the 2021 metallurgical testing pilot plant program, highlighting our interest in moving beyond idealized experimental conditions to advance the scientific understanding of carbon mineralization in a practical, real-world context.”
Previous lab and field tests showed that Baptiste tailings can mineralize carbon when exposed to air or injected with 10% CO2.
FPX Nickel said it will be increasing its CO2 testing for carbon capture mining, with two direct air capture experiments in 2022. The company plans a six-month experiment on about 2.4 tonnes of tailings, as well as a one-year experiment looking into the longer-term CO2 sequestration potential of tailings.