Supercritical CO2 Based Mining for Carbon-Negative Critical Mineral Recovery

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Richland, Washington
Project Term:
01/12/2023 - 01/11/2026

Technology Description:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will develop the first integrated, comprehensive suite of methods to deliver a proprietary supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2)-based leaching fluid to mafic-ultramafic ores for in situ enhanced critical mineral (e.g., nickel, copper, and cobalt) recovery and CO2 sequestration. The project will increase the U.S. critical mineral supply chain by using existing horizontal drilling technologies to inject scCO2 to mine low-value mafic-ultramafic ores not typically mined. The goal is to create a carbon-negative pathway, reduce mineral beneficiation energy cost by 57%, and mineralize approximately 110 kg CO2 per kg of critical mineral extracted.

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:
Mr. H Todd Schaef
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Cornell University

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