Energy-relevant Elements Recovery from CO2-reactive Minerals during Carbon Mineralization

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Blacksburg, Virginia
Project Term:
04/14/2023 - 04/13/2026

Critical Need:

The U.S. mining industry faces the rapid depletion of high-profit deposits, increased mining and processing costs, and expensive management and accumulation of tailings. These factors result in a reduced return on investment from conventional mining methods. The current global conventional mineral supply also cannot support the U.S. transition to 100% renewable energy. The lack of energy-relevant minerals poses a significant supply chain risk, especially with regard to batteries, renewable generation, and transmission. The U.S. may look toward unconventional minerals (i.e., CO2-reactive minerals) and carbon-negative mining methods to meet the demand.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) will develop an innovative carbon mineralization/metal extraction technology (CMME) that enables the recovery of energy-relevant elements during direct and indirect carbon mineralization processes. Virginia Tech will introduce an organic phase during the direct carbon mineralization process and in the mineral dissolution step of indirect carbon mineralization process. Energy-relevant elements are purified and separated through advanced separation technologies. Virginia Tech will test the CMME technology on low-grade mafic/ultramafic rocks and allanite ore, which could supply needed reserves of nickel, copper, and rare earth elements. Virginia Tech will construct a pre-pilot system to continuously produce energy-relevant elements with greater than 80% recovery at 0.1 kg per hour.

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. Wencai Zhang
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Phinix, LLC
Colorado State University
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Columbia University
Virginia Department of Energy
Ultool, LLC

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