Rhys Savage Ph.D.
Carbon Removal Scientist
Partnering with industry leaders WSP and RMI to form an exploratory working group on CDR in mining
Isometric is partnering with WSP, a global engineering and professional services firm, and RMI, a market-driven climate solutions nonprofit founded as Rocky Mountain Institute, to convene a working group to explore opportunities to integrate carbon mineralization and other geochemical forms of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) into mining industry operations.
This follows a successful workshop and will bring together key stakeholders in the mining industry and CDR field, including CDR project developers, academics, non-profit organizations, mining consultancies, and mine operators.
The goal of the working group is to bridge the gap between academic research and industry to assess the feasibility of implementing CDR practices on mining sites and using minerals sourced from mining sites, as a complement to sustained decarbonization efforts.
The working group will scope the potential for large-scale implementation and evaluate how to utilize mining by-products (such as waste rock and tailings) as feedstocks for Enhanced Weathering (EW) and Carbon Mineralization (CM) processes. Repurposing such mining by-products for CDR provides a unique opportunity for mine operators to also improve waste management of the 100 billion tonnes of extractive waste produced annually.
The heavily regulated and developed nature of the mining industry means that CDR in mining will require protocols and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems specific to the industry. As such, the working group will consult with mine operators, environmental regulators, and policymakers to ensure implementation is feasible and that challenges—such as regulation, technological availability, and potential environmental consequences—are proactively identified and considered.
More than a dozen institutions are represented in the working group and will each contribute their areas of expertise.
Working group co-leaders, WSP, will work with environmental consultancies, Mine Environment Management Ltd (MEM), Sweco, and Mine Waste Management (MWM), to assess how CDR technologies can be feasibly be integrated into mine planning, operations, and closure.
RMI will be joined by leading academics in the field of CDR and mine geochemistry, including Dr Devin Sapsford (Cardiff University), Dr Ian Power (Trent University), Dr Sasha Wilson (Alberta University), Dr Benoit Plante (UQAT), Dr Dan Su, and Dr Phil Renforth (Heriot-Watt University) to ensure the potential and feasibility of these practices are assessed with independence, rigor, and accountability to the scientific community and society at large.
The working group will hold a number of workshops throughout 2024 that will be open for broad collaboration and input from the mining industry, the CDR industry, and other stakeholders. If you or your organization would like to be involved in this initiative, please reach out to project leads Dr Rhys Savage (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Bart De Baere (email@example.com).
The establishment of this working group underscores Isometric’s commitment to working with partners and contributing to research that has the potential to responsibly and rapidly scale carbon dioxide removal.