Greg Dipple needs to turn the debris from nickel mines into large-scale carbon sinks.
The intention, which he has improved over two decades, would help curtail the environmental effect of mining for metals that are highly aimed for electric vehicle batteries.
“We can see a pathway towards nickel mining in the future where it produces a net positive environmental benefit from the context of greenhouse gases,” announced Dipple, a professor at the University of British Columbia and founder of Carbin Minerals. Carbon minerals is an environmental services company.
Dipple’s strategy would use the tailings ( a byproduct of extracting metals and minerals from ore ) as a massive sponge for carbon in the environment.
Once consumed, the carbon would become a rock and remain in the earth with time through a process called carbon mineralization. Dipple and his colleagues have already developed projects to the size of a football field and have signed a contract with Canadian e-commerce company Shopify to sequester carbon.
However, Dipple said projects like his should be the “last thing” mining companies perform. He added,” they should be opting to green their operations more holistically.”
“That starts with renewable electricity. It includes decarbonizing the haul fleet. You look at all your operations, make it as low carbon as you can and then the hard to abate … you take care of with your tailings,” he explained.