Arca, a company founded by geoscientists from the University of British Columbia, announced that it is working with nickel producers to capture and permanently store CO2 in mine tailings. 

The company said it is developing and commercializing a portfolio of technologies that help mining companies measure, maximize and monetize the carbon sequestration potential of their mining byproducts. Arca’s patent-pending mineral activation technology uses high-intensity bursts of energy to transform and disrupt the mineral lattice structure of magnesium-rich minerals, increasing both the rate and capacity for CO2 capture and permanent storage. With material from its mining company partners, Arca said it has achieved unprecedented rates of air capture and capacity for CO2 storage, operating at atmospheric air temperature and pressure. 

Arca said it is currently working with clients that include Vale and the Australia-based juniors Poseidon Nickel, NickelSearch, and Blackstone Minerals. 

Arca said it is also working with Talon Metals which, in a joint venture with Rio Tinto, is developing the Tamarack nickel-copper-cobalt project located in central Minnesota. “Talon and Arca are working on transformational change in mining and mineral processing,” said Todd M. Malan, head of climate strategy, Talon Metals. “Our partnership is focused on showing how waste from conventional nickel processing can be harnessed to store carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere or captured in industrial processes. This ‘waste-as-carbon-sink’ approach has further potential for reuse in building materials, thus significantly reducing the amount of waste that needs to be stored as compared to present-day legacy nickel processing.” 

“Arca is helping mining companies understand the potential for mineralization of their resources, design how that potential should be realized, and then advance to actual project development,” said Professor Greg Dipple, co-founder and head of science at Arca. “Our mineral activation technology significantly accelerates the natural process of carbon mineralization using mine tailings from ultramafic rocks. This helps these companies transform their tailings into industrial-scale direct air capture and storage facilities, transforming mine waste into a valuable new resource and climate solution.”

Arca, formerly named Carbin Minerals, is backed by Lowercarbon Capital and the Grantham Foundation, both of which are “climate investors” in the carbon dioxide removals industry.