EnviCore and Talon Metals, through subsidiary Talon Nickel (USA), are working together to study EnviCore’s technology that turns mineral processing waste into value-added products for the building, construction and infrastructure industries. The product, said the two companies, could replace primary raw materials in legacy cement and concrete production that involve significant CO2 emissions in processing.

Talon Metals is the majority owner and operator of the Tamarack nickel project in central Minnesota. EnviCore and Talon Metals are conducting lab-scale studies to utilize EnviCore’s technology to potentially transform tailings from the processing of nickel and copper bearing ores into a category of products called Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM). 

Talon Metals and EnviCore are using core samples from Tamarack to extract the Cu, Ni and Fe sulphides and conducting lab tests on replicated waste streams. If the lab studies prove successful, independent scientific studies will need to be completed to validate the safety and efficacy of the SCM for public use. Any marketable product would also have to be tested in state and federal permitting processes. Development of supplemental cementitious material, that replaces primary materials like Portland cement, is a key focus of the cement industry as it tries to decarbonize one of the highest carbon emitting industries.

EnviCore is a Calgary, Alberta-
based technology company specializing in by-product treatment solutions offering superior performance, efficiency and repurposing. The company said its technology involves processing multiple types of mineral feed at low temperatures to achieve activation and successful partial replacement of cement in a concrete mix without sacrificing its early strength.

Talon Metals is a TSX-listed base metals company engaged in a joint venture with Rio Tinto on the Tamarack pro-
ject. Talon said it has an agreement with Tesla Inc. to supply it with 75,000 metric tons (165 million lb) of nickel in concentrate (and certain by-products, including cobalt and iron) from Tamarack over an estimated six-year period once commercial production is achieved.

Earlier this year, EnviCore announced the successful results of a multi-ton oil sands mitigation scale-up test performed at InnoTech Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta.

EnviCore said it developed a chemical-based process for improving the dewatering of oil sands mature fine tailings (MFT) and converting the dewatered tailings into value-added products. InnoTech was selected due to their ability to provide a third party review in scaling-up the testing of EnviCore’s technology from the bench scale level to process approximately 2,000 liters of MFT.

“The project met its goals of the scaling-up assessment of EnviCore’s technology for improved dewatering efficiency versus current industry standards and successfully extracting waste minerals for use in construction,” said Shahrukh Shamim, CEO of EnviCore. The company said InnoTech’s report noted that EnviCore’s technology improved the permeability of the tailings with a higher coefficient of consolidation and the potential acceleration of the MFT deposits dewatering process by one to two orders of magnitude compared to the cases where the MFT is untreated. 

This project, according to EnviCore, used tailing samples from one of the
oil sands operations and produced a commercially acceptable product for the construction industry. Specialty chemical supplier Clariant Mining Solutions is also collaborating with
EnviCore on development and supply of tailings solutions.