Rio Tinto is partnering with RESOLVE, a Washington-based nonprofit organization, to launch Regeneration, a startup that will use the re-mining and processing of waste from legacy mine sites to support rehabilitation activities and restore natural environments.

Regeneration will extract valuable minerals and metals from mine tailings, waste rock and water. Earnings from the sale of these responsibly sourced materials will be reinvested to help fund habitat restoration and closure activities, including at legacy and former mine sites.

“Regeneration aims to turn ores and waste from previously mined areas into positive outcomes both economically and environmentally,” Rio Tinto Global Head of Closure Peter Harvey said. “It is an innovative and collaborative new vehicle to help effectively restore legacy mine sites and meet our closure commitments.”

Regeneration will also seek to create and trade biodiversity and carbon credits through the rehabilitation of land and the generation of environmental offsets.

“We see mine waste as an untapped resource and an opportunity to create a double win for the climate and communities,” Regeneration CEO and Chair Stephen D’Esposito said. “We will produce minerals for the energy transition and supply sustainable brands while restoring legacy mine sites.”

Rio Tinto has entered into a memorandum of understanding with RESOLVE to make an equity investment of $2 million in Regeneration and will also analyze its portfolio to identify potential opportunities for the first Regeneration project. The startup has formed a founding board of directors and site review and selection is about to begin.

Regeneration will look to offer additional partnership, investment and site-based opportunities for ethical investment companies and philanthropists, mining companies, mining and environmental professionals, downstream manufacturers and brands, technology innovators, governments, and communities.