When it comes to climate change, the mining industry is typically seen as a ‘bad guy,’ depleting the Earth’s natural resources and emitting CO2 in the process. So you might be astounded to learn that carbon can actually be captured and stored using the waste produced in the mining process. In fact, mines could take advantage of this practice, with simple changes in facility design, to become greenhouse gas neutral. Indeed the potential exists for scaling up this carbon capture process to remove billions of tons of CO2 per year—simply by recycling mining waste.
Ross and Christophe are joined by Dr. Greg Dipple, a professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He is a geologist who studies the processes of and driving forces behind mineral reactions with a focus on fluid-rock interactions. In the last 15 years, Dr. Dipple’s research has focused on carbon sequestration at and near the surface of the Earth.
Dr. Dipple joins Ross and Christophe to explain the process of capturing carbon with mining waste known as tailing. He explains the relative ease with which mines could be redesigned to support the process and the economic and reputational value in removing carbon through mine tailing. Dr. Dipple walks us through his back-of-the-envelope calculations that indicate a very promising $10-20 per ton carbon cost for mine tailing as well as the potential to scale this carbon capture process. We cover several other safety and environmental concerns associated with mining, and Dr. Dipple shares the significance of his partnership with mining companies in deploying his approach in the field. Listen in and learn how Dr. Dipple came to discover the potential for recycling mine tailing to capture carbon.
[1:12] The process of capturing carbon with mining waste
[2:47] The nature of the mining industry
[3:32] The value of carbon capture for mining industry
[5:55] The fundamentals of carbon removal via mine tailing
[7:32] How mines could be redesigned to promote carbon capture
[10:33] The affordability of using tailings for carbon capture
[13:44] Dr. Dipple’s eureka moment re: tailings and carbon capture
[16:57] The safety concerns associated with toxic waste
[20:00] The potential to scale the carbon capture process in mining
[26:54] How CO2 might neutralize asbestos
[30:00] The other environmental considerations around mining
[34:29] Dr. Dipple’s take on next steps for his work
[37:46] How to measure carbon captured through tailings