Offsetting of CO2 emissions by air capture in mine tailings at the Mount Keith Nickel Mine, Western Australia: Rates, controls and prospects for carbon neutral mining

Wilson, Siobhan A., Harrison, Anna L., Dipple, Gregory M., Power, Ian M., Barker, Shaun L. L., Ulrich Mayer, K., Fallon, Stewart J., Raudsepp, Mati and Southam, Gordon (2014) Offsetting of CO2 emissions by air capture in mine tailings at the Mount Keith Nickel Mine, Western Australia: Rates, controls and prospects for carbon neutral mining. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 25 121-140. doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.04.002


Author Wilson, Siobhan A.
Harrison, Anna L.
Dipple, Gregory M.
Power, Ian M.
Barker, Shaun L. L.
Ulrich Mayer, K.
Fallon, Stewart J.
Raudsepp, Mati
Southam, Gordon
Title Offsetting of CO2 emissions by air capture in mine tailings at the Mount Keith Nickel Mine, Western Australia: Rates, controls and prospects for carbon neutral mining
Journal name International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1750-5836
1878-0148
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ijggc.2014.04.002
Open Access Status
Volume 25
Start page 121
End page 140
Total pages 20
Place of publication Camden, London, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2310 Pollution
2100 Energy
2209 Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
2308 Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Abstract The hydrated Mg-carbonate mineral, hydromagnesite [Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2·4H2O], precipitates within mine tailings at the Mount Keith Nickel Mine, Western Australia as a direct result of mining operations. We have used quantitative mineralogical data and δ13C, δ18O and F14C isotopic data to quantify the amount of CO2 fixation and identify carbon sources. Our radiocarbon results indicate that at least 80% of carbon stored in hydromagnesite has been captured from the modern atmosphere. Stable isotopic results indicate that dissolution of atmospheric CO2 into mine tailings water is kinetically limited, which suggests that the current rate of carbon mineralization could be accelerated. Reactive transport modeling is used to describe the observed variation in tailings mineralogy and to estimate rates of CO2 fixation. Based on our assessment, approximately 39,800t/yr of atmospheric CO2 are being trapped and stored in tailings at Mount Keith. This represents an offsetting of approximately 11% of the mine's annual greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, passive sequestration via enhanced weathering of mineral waste can capture and store a significant amount of CO2. Recommendations are made for changes to tailings management and ore processing practices that have potential to accelerate carbonation of tailings and further reduce or completely offset the net greenhouse gas emissions at Mount Keith and many other mines.
Keyword Carbon accounting
Carbon mineralization
Mount Keith Nickel Mine
Quantitative X ray diffraction
Reactive transport modeling
Stable isotopes
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Earth Sciences Publications
Official 2015 Collection
 
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