Rio Tinto-led team exploring $6.2M Carbon Storage potential at Minnesota Metals Mine

Feb. 16, 2022
Carbon mineralization is a process in which natural chemical reactions are used to convert captured CO2 into rock and stored underground. The technology has been used on a large scale by Carbfix in Iceland

A team led by mining giant Rio Tinto will explore the carbon storage potential at the Tamarack nickel-copper-cobalt project in central Minnesota.

The US Department of Energy is providing $2.2 million in funding through the ARPA-E Innovation Challenge and Rio Tinto will contribute an additional $4 million for the 3-year project. The Tamarack project is managed by Rio Tinto’s joint venture partner Talon Metals.

Rio Tinto’s technical experts will work with DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Columbia University, Carbfix and Advantek Waste Management Services on the project and Talon Metals will provide ore body knowledge and land access for scientific field work.

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Carbon mineralization is a process in which natural chemical reactions are used to convert captured CO2 into rock and stored underground. The technology has been used on a large scale by Carbfix in Iceland. It has the potential to contribute to meeting the global climate goals.

Rio Tinto Chief Scientist Dr Nigel Steward said, “Our aim is to deliver carbon storage solutions that can help to meet climate targets by reducing and offsetting emissions from our operations and in other industries, and to explore the emerging commercial opportunities carbon storage may offer at Rio Tinto sites around the world. We will be working with leading researchers and innovators to prove the carbon storage potential of the Tamarack site and develop mineralisation solutions that can be used not just here but at other similar locations.”

This Tamarack project will utilize knowledge gained from the Wallula Basalt Carbon Storage pilot underway in Washingon state. The federal researchers, PNNL and others are looking at flood basalt lava flows, which have flow tops that are porous, permeable, and have large potential capacity for storage of CO2

“We will be developing forward-looking carbon storage strategies with Rio Tinto and the broader team,” Todd Schaef, CO2 subsurface sequestration expert at PNNL, said in a statement. “PNNL stewards a suite of capabilities that allow us to look at real-time CO2 interactions with rocks under extreme conditions. We are proud to bring interdisciplinary expertise with computational scientists, geochemists, and engineers who have been researching the subsurface mineralisation of CO2 for decades.”