Canadian Mining Journal


NICKEL: Giga Metals wants to develop world’s first carbon-neutral mine

BRITISH COLUMBIA – Giga Metals announced that, together with Greg Dipple of the University of British Columbia, the company is working towards developing the world’s first carbon-neutral mine.

The mine in question is the Turnagain project in British Columbia, considered one of the largest undeveloped sulphide nickel deposits on the planet in terms of total contained nickel.

To achieve such a goal, Giga Metals and Dipple have launched a CO2 (carbon dioxide) sequestration research program, with an upcoming phase which involves a large-scale pad test to assess the atmospheric carbonation of silicates in Turnagain material. This process will include an assessment of the geomechanical effects of carbonation on this material.

“Further to Elon Musk’s specific call to nickel producers to pursue environmentally-friendly nickel in high volume made during Tesla’s latest earnings call, we are actively pursuing the development of this large sulphide deposit to meet the future requirements of EV (electric vehicle) manufacturers,” Martin Vydra, the company’s president, said in a media statement.

According to Vydra, if the methodology used at Turnagain is accepted as a valid measure of carbon uptake in silicate mine residue, carbon credits could be obtained. In basic terms, it works by converting silicates to carbonates, which means that the CO2 is locked away for geological time scales.

According to the executive, in addition to CO2 sequestration, cementation occurs when silicate fines convert to carbonate minerals. This cementation is expected to stabilize and strengthen residue impoundment facilities, decreasing containment risk.

“Upcoming studies of the geomechanical effect of carbonation on Turnagain lithologies could affect mine sequencing and tailings management practices,” he said. “This exciting research now underway could help with our goal by providing a way to measure carbon uptake in our residue.”

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