De Beers Group’s Research in Carbon-neutral Mining

Mining

A research project led by De Beers Group aims in delivering carbon-neutral mining to some of its operations. Working in collaboration with a group of scientists, the company is investigating the potential of storing large carbon volumes at its diamond mines via mineralisation of the kimberlite tailings. The remnant material post-diamond mining get removed from the ore.

De Beers Group’s Project Aiming to Offset Man-made Carbon Emissions

De Beers Group is focusing on investigating storage potential within its diamond mines across the globe. According to the company, this will be the first ever extensive research undertaken for assessing the carbonation potential of kimberlite, which is a rare kind of rock offering ideal properties to store carbon through technologies of mineral-carbonation. The project’s aim is to accelerate the already safe and naturally-occurring process of carbon extraction from atmosphere to store it at a pace which will offset the man-made carbon emissions. Scientists have projected that carbon storage potential of the kimberlite tailings, which is produced by diamond mines annually will be able to offset approximately 10X emissions of typical mines.

Dr. Evelyn Mervine, project lead for De Beers Group’s initiative, stated that the project delivers huge potential for entirely offsetting carbon emissions of the company’s diamond mining operations. Mineral-carbonation technologies are not completely new, but the new thing is application of these technologies to the kimberlite ore, found in abundance in diamond mines’ tailings, which in turn will offer ideal properties to store large volumes of carbon. As a part of company’s project, the researchers are discerning ways for modification of these existing technologies to develop specific solutions, to store carbon in the kimberlite tailings.

The Project will Drive Significant Growth of Applications in Mining Industry

With continuous advancements in technology, higher volumes of carbon could be stored feasibly in the kimberlite tailings, implying higher capacity in offsetting emissions that they are being produced. In mineral-carbonation, an artificial or natural process, the rocks at Earth’s surface get involved into reactions with carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, locking it away in solid, non-toxic, and safe carbonate minerals. The work which is undertaken by De Beers Group’s project team is further expected to drive significant growth of applications in mining industry. The ideal characteristics of carbon-storage in the kimberlite rocks, are also possessed by rocks which are mined for other commodities including nickel and platinum.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, stated that through replication of this technology at various other mining operations across the globe, the project might play an indispensable role in changing ways of not only the diamond mining industry, but also broader mining industry, addressing challenges associated with the reduction of carbon footprint.

By Nikhil Kaitwade

With over 8 years of experience in market research and consulting industry, Nikhil has worked on more than 250 research assignments pertaining to chemicals, materials and energy sector. He has worked directly with about 35 reputed companies as lead consultant for plant expansion, product positioning, capacity factor analysis, new market/segment exploration, export market opportunity evaluation and sourcing strategies.

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