Gold mining company Newmont Corporation announced a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to research an approach for CO2 emissions capture from its mine tailings.
The subject of the research will be a new technology called rapid electrochemical mineralization to form dolomite (REMineD).
Newmont’s Director of Processing, Frank Roberto, says CCUS in tailings supports a long-term direction for the mining industry: “Waste rock and tailings are the largest component of residues from our mining operations, and the work for direct air capture of CO2 through tailings carbonation provides a unique opportunity to reduce our and others’ emissions throughout the value chain.”
The approach could potentially lead to carbonate minerals being converted into less carbon-intensive alternatives to products like cement and concrete.
A further positive is that these materials will possibly be utilized directly on site. This will lead increased speed and efficiency in the process of producing the aforementioned dolomite aggregates. It will also create new revenue sources from the possibility to recover more valuable ores and cement.
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The CO2 capture project Newmont is a part of will be spread over three years and has received $4.38 million in funding from the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Technology Commercialization Fund, as well as several non-federal sources.
The potential for the decarbonization of mining is being researched by other companies like FPX Nickel, but with Newmont being a leader in gold and other precious metal mining, a positive outcome from this research could have a significant impact on an industry that generates between 4 and 7% of global emissions every year.
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