Newmont Partners with the NREL to Research Mine Tailings and DAC

By Newmont | March 22, 2023

Newmont has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, to explore the innovative rapid electrochemical mineralization to form dolomite (REMineD) approach for sequestering carbon in mine tailings. REMineD work will help advance development of carbon dioxide removal technologies, which will be integral to meeting global climate goals.

Carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) is an important process that can be used to carbon-neutralize hard-to-abate emissions. Sequestered in tailings, carbonate minerals can be converted into durable products that replace CO2 intensive concrete used in construction. And dolomite or pozzolans (e.g., silica) produced through the REMineD process reduce the CO2 footprint of concrete.

Newmont’s Director of Processing, Frank Roberto, says CCUS in tailings supports a long-term direction for the mining industry: “Waste rock and tailings are the largest component of residues from our mining operations, and the work for direct air capture of CO2 through tailings carbonation provides a unique opportunity to reduce our and others’ emissions throughout the value chain.”

The resources developed by REMineD can be deployed on site at remote mining locations. Using this process will result in a) faster and more efficient ways to develop the dolomite aggregate from a wide variety of tailings; b) additional revenue streams from further recovery of valuable rare earth elements; and c) the production of more sustainable building materials.

Newmont is the primary mining partner in this three-year $4.38 million R&D project, which is co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Technology Commercialization Fund as well as non-federal cost-share partners. The NREL will lead this collaborative work, consisting of multiple partners and research institutes, including the University of California Los Angeles, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Newmont’s Metallurgical Services Laboratory in Englewood, Colorado – with the guidance of our Innovation, Energy and Decarbonization, Water and Tailings & Dams teams – will provide analytical, process and strategic support to the effort.

Newmont is the world’s leading gold mining company and a producer of copper, silver, zinc and lead. As a leader in sustainable mining, Newmont has committed to substantial reductions in our carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

More information about our energy and climate strategy can be found in our 2021 Climate Report.