CO2 GONE – CO2 Gasification of Ore for Nickel Extraction

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Woburn, Massachusetts
Project Term:
04/13/2023 - 10/12/2025

Technology Description:

Phoenix Tailings’ CO2 GONE process uses and recycles CO2 to extract energy-relevant minerals, primarily nickel (Ni) and magnesium (Mg), from iron- and aluminum-rich ore through carbonation with CO2. Using CO2 with high pressures, temperatures, and mixing breaks down the rock structure and enables greater extraction of energy-relevant elements like Ni and Mg, which are then converted to metal carbonates (NiCO3, MgCO3). The resulting NiCO3 and MgCO3 are chemically separated from each other and other gangue materials by ammonia-base leaching and then refined to generate nickel oxide and magnesium carbonate with high purity. Compared with the traditional nickel mining industry, this process is carbon negative, sequesters CO2, and recycles CO2 and NH3 to keep the system operating efficiently. Furthermore, it reduces corrosiveness when compared with typical industry acid leaching methods, and is economically robust because of the potential to sell the nickel oxide product and magnesium carbonate byproduct.

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 in by 50% compared with state of the art.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Dr. Rita Silbernagel
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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