Potential for offsetting diamond mine carbon emissions through mineral carbonation of processed kimberlite: an assessment of De Beers mine sites in South Africa and Canada
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De Beers kimberlite mine operations in South Africa (Venetia and Voorspoed) and Canada (Gahcho Kué, Victor, and Snap Lake) have the potential to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) through weathering of kimberlite mine tailings, which can store carbon in secondary carbonate minerals (mineral carbonation). Carbonation of ca. 4.7 to 24.0 wt% (average = 13.8 wt%) of annual processed kimberlite production could offset 100% of each mine site’s carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. Minerals of particular interest for reactivity with atmospheric or waste CO2 from energy production include serpentine minerals, olivine (forsterite), brucite, and smectite. The most abundant minerals, such as serpentine polymorphs, provide the bulk of the carbonation potential. However, the detection of minor amounts of highly reactive brucite in tailings from Victor, as well as the likely presence of brucite at Venetia, Gahcho Kué, and Snap Lake, is also important for the mineral carbonation potential of the mine sites.
KeywordsMineral carbonation Carbon mineralization Carbon sequestration Carbonate Kimberlite Diamond mining
De Beers and Anglo American are thanked for financial support and for permission to publish this research. De Beers Consolidated Mines and De Beers Canada are thanked for providing samples and for assistance with field work. De Beers Creative Services is thanked for providing Figs. 1 and 2 and for assistance with Fig. 3. Kate Carroll and Bart de Baere at The University of British Columbia are thanked for assistance with sample processing and mineral surface area measurements. Two anonymous reviewers and handling editor David B. Snyder are thanked for their constructive comments.
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