New Mineral Research to Show Potential for Capturing Carbon Dioxide in Rocks

Vancouver, BC July 23, 2019 – Rocks in British Columbia could be used to naturally capture the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) thanks to new mineral research led by the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Bradshaw Research Initiative for Minerals and Mining (BRIMM) and Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU), and supported by Geoscience BC, the British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS) and the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC).

This applied research, which also involves industry partners, geoscience agencies across Canada and Natural Resource Canada’s Clean Growth Program, is made up of several individual projects. The Geoscience BC project is called Carbon Mineralization Potential for BC and will identify, map and analyse rocks to create a ‘Carbon Mineralization Potential Index’ for British Columbia.

The project is building on a decade of research focussing on the reaction of ultramafic rocks (magnesium silicate that is often found in mine tailings) with CO2 and on finding ways to maximize the reaction. Known as ‘carbon mineralization’, the reaction binds the CO2 in a solid carbonate mineral form, where it can remain in a benign state for thousands of years or more.

Project lead and BRIMM professor Dr. Greg Dipple said: “With this generous funding from Geoscience BC we will, for the first time in the world, map out the carbon storage potential of serpentinite rock across an entire mountain chain. Serpentinite can be highly reactive to carbon dioxide in air and occurs sporadically through much of British Columbia. The results will assist in the planning of future carbon capture and storage projects across the province.”

“Geoscience BC is excited about funding collaborative research to advance science and innovative technologies,” said Geoscience BC Vice President, Minerals Christa Pellett. “This project will allow us to better understand natural ways to manage greenhouse gases. Our contribution to this minerals research will result in a Carbon Mineralization Potential Index for rocks in British Columbia, which will help to take this promising applied geoscience to the next level.”

Identifying the distribution, abundances, geometries and quality of these ultramafic rocks is a first step towards quantifying the opportunity to capture greenhouse gases.

The BCGS is providing funding for sampling as well as the expertise of Senior Minerals Geologist Dejan Milidragovic. Rock property measurements will be made at the GSC’s Paleomagnetism and Petrophysics Laboratory in Sidney, BC.

Further information:

View the University of British Columbias July 2019 research funding announcement

View Clean Growth Program announcement from Natural Resources Canada 

Accessing Information

View the project pages for more information.

View Project Web Page       View Project in Earth Science Viewer

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For more information, please contact:

Richard Truman
Geoscience BC