Carbon Negative Reaction-driven Cracking for Enhanced Mineral Recovery: In-Situ Test at a Ni-Co-PGE Deposit

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Austin, Texas
Project Term:
06/26/2023 - 06/25/2026

Technology Description:

The University of Texas, Austin, will conduct an in-situ injection of CO2 dissolved in water to permanently sequester CO2 via carbon-negative reactions (carbon mineralization), chemically fracture the rock via reaction-driven cracking before mining to reduce extraction and comminution energy by at least 50%, replace the CO2-reactive rock waste with carbonate to reduce energy needed for separation, improve concentrate grade, and increase ore recovery, and expand the lifespan of the mine as a CO2 sink once the ore is exhausted. The methodology applies to ultramafic rock-hosted mining operations worldwide, is easily scalable, and can be combined with chemical enhancement and subsequent ex-situ carbonation steps to maximize CO2 sequestration and critical mineral yield to combat climate change and secure the U. S. critical mineral supply. The proposed field test site is a newly discovered nickel-cobalt-platinum group element ore body near the U.S-Canada border that is forecast to be an important new source of critical minerals.

Potential Impact:

The MINER program aims to use the reactive potential of CO2-reactive ore materials to decrease mineral processing energy and increase the yield of energy-relevant minerals via novel negative emission technologies.


MINER metrics meet the U.S. need for net-zero, commercial-ready technologies that provide energy-relevant minerals for economic and national security.


In addition to demonstrating carbon negativity, the proposed technologies will quantify and reduce our impact on environmental and human health by addressing ecotoxicity, acidification of air, smog, water pollution, and more.


MINER metrics specify increasing the yield of energy-relevant minerals by reducing unrecovered energy-relevant minerals in tailings by 50% compared with state of the art.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Dr. Estibalitz Ukar
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Project Contact Email:

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