In an unprecedented initiative, Vancouver-based cleantech startup, Arca Climate Technologies Inc., is collaborating with BHP Group Ltd. on an 18-month pilot project to test its proprietary carbon dioxide removal system at BHP's Mount Keith nickel mine in Australia. The project will explore the potential of Arca's innovative system in tailings waste management. By focusing on capturing and storing carbon in rock material at the mining site, Arca aims to reduce emissions while continuing to mine critical minerals necessary for the energy transition.
Transforming Waste into Carbon Storage
Arca's unique approach to carbon management involves a process known as carbon mineralization. The focus is on ultramafic rock, a material rich in magnesium. The company's technology applies electromagnetic radiation to mine waste, disrupting the mineral structure and releasing magnesium. This magnesium, in turn, reacts with carbon dioxide, creating a safe and permanent form of carbon storage.
A Vision for Sustainable Mining
Paul Needham, CEO of Arca, has emphasized the importance of mining critical minerals such as nickel, which forms an integral part of the energy transition. He also stresses the need for reducing emissions in the process. Arca's technology, which also includes autonomous rovers for monitoring and accelerating carbon mineralization, is poised to play a vital role in achieving these dual objectives. The company's vision is to establish low carbon or carbon-negative mining practices, positioning itself in the growing market for carbon removal technologies.
Canada's Leadership in Carbon-Management Technologies
Arca Climate Technologies, which has its roots in the University of British Columbia and is co-founded by UBC geoscientists, has attracted investors and secured grants, including from the B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy. This support attests to the promise of Arca's technology and underscores a broader trend of Canadian leadership in carbon-management technologies. Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has highlighted such innovative projects as crucial for achieving a net-zero future by 2050. As the world grapples with the twin challenges of sustainable resource extraction and a shifting energy landscape, Arca's pioneering work in carbon mineralization could offer a viable path forward.