Mineral carbonation technology to resolve acid mine drainage and greenhouse gas emissions at mine sites

Steve Bouzalakos (ACSMP) and Wendy Timms (ACSMP)

Mineral carbonation is an emerging and promising greenhouse gas sequestration technology, and its integration into mining practices has not been well studied. The use of ultramafic tailings and acidic mine water for mineral carbonation could potentially allow for carbon neutral mining operations, integrated mine waste management and reduced mineral carbonation cost.

This research, led by Dr Steve Bouzalakos, examines the geochemical feasibility of combining these waste streams at mine sites where ultra-mafic tailings are available. Laboratory experiments were conducted under various temperature, solid-to-liquid (S/L) ratios and reaction times.  The acidic mine water was rapidly neutralized and iron, copper and zinc ion concentrations dropped significantly indicating the formation of solid precipitates. Carbon dioxide sequestration potential was theoretically calculated. Further work is in progress to improve the efficiency of the chemical reactions and to consider the practical feasibility and economic viability of such mine waste management initiatives.

Initial research results were recently presented at the International Mine Water Congress in Chile (Bouzalakos et al., 2014). 



Bouzalakos S; Thapa S; Abbas A; Timms WA, 2014, 'Acid mine water treatment with brucite in ultramafic tailings coupled with CO2 sequestration', in , presented at 4th International Conference on Water Management in Mining, Vina del Mar, Chile, 28 - 30 May 2014.