Experimental deployment of microbial mineral carbonation at an asbestos mine: Potential applications to carbon storage and tailings stabilization

Jenine McCutcheon, Connor C. Turvey, Siobhan A. Wilson, Jessica L. Hamilton, Gordon Southam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A microbial mineral carbonation trial was conducted at the Woodsreef Asbestos Mine (NSW, Australia) to test cyanobacteria-accelerated Mg-carbonate mineral precipitation in mine tailings. The experiment aimed to produce a carbonate crust on the tailings pile surface using atmospheric carbon dioxide and magnesium from serpentine minerals (asbestiform chrysotile; Mg3Si2O5(OH)4) and brucite [Mg(OH)2]. The crust would serve two purposes: Sequestering carbon and stabilizing the hazardous tailings. Two plots (0.5 m3) on the tailings pile were treated with sulfuric acid prior to one plot being inoculated with a cyanobacteria-dominated consortium enriched from the mine pit lakes. After 11 weeks, mineral abundances in control and treated tailings were quantified by Rietveld refinement of powder X-ray diffraction data. Both treated plots possessed pyroaurite [Mg6Fe2(CO3)(OH)16•4H2O] at 2 cm depth, made visible by its orange-red color. The inoculated plot exhibited an increase in the hydromagnesite [Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2•4H2O] content from 2-4 cm depth. The degree of mineral carbonation was limited compared to previous experiments, revealing the difficulty of transitioning from laboratory conditions to mine-site mineral carbonation. Water and carbon availability were limiting factors for mineral carbonation. Overcoming these limitations and enhancing microbial activity could make microbial carbonation a viable strategy for carbon sequestration in mine tailings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number191
Number of pages18
JournalMinerals
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Carbonate minerals
  • Cement precipitation
  • Chrysotile asbestos
  • CO storage
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Microbial carbonation
  • Mine tailings
  • Mineral carbonation

Cite this

McCutcheon, Jenine ; Turvey, Connor C. ; Wilson, Siobhan A. ; Hamilton, Jessica L. ; Southam, Gordon. / Experimental deployment of microbial mineral carbonation at an asbestos mine : Potential applications to carbon storage and tailings stabilization. In: Minerals. 2017 ; Vol. 7, No. 10.
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abstract = "A microbial mineral carbonation trial was conducted at the Woodsreef Asbestos Mine (NSW, Australia) to test cyanobacteria-accelerated Mg-carbonate mineral precipitation in mine tailings. The experiment aimed to produce a carbonate crust on the tailings pile surface using atmospheric carbon dioxide and magnesium from serpentine minerals (asbestiform chrysotile; Mg3Si2O5(OH)4) and brucite [Mg(OH)2]. The crust would serve two purposes: Sequestering carbon and stabilizing the hazardous tailings. Two plots (0.5 m3) on the tailings pile were treated with sulfuric acid prior to one plot being inoculated with a cyanobacteria-dominated consortium enriched from the mine pit lakes. After 11 weeks, mineral abundances in control and treated tailings were quantified by Rietveld refinement of powder X-ray diffraction data. Both treated plots possessed pyroaurite [Mg6Fe2(CO3)(OH)16•4H2O] at 2 cm depth, made visible by its orange-red color. The inoculated plot exhibited an increase in the hydromagnesite [Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2•4H2O] content from 2-4 cm depth. The degree of mineral carbonation was limited compared to previous experiments, revealing the difficulty of transitioning from laboratory conditions to mine-site mineral carbonation. Water and carbon availability were limiting factors for mineral carbonation. Overcoming these limitations and enhancing microbial activity could make microbial carbonation a viable strategy for carbon sequestration in mine tailings.",
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Experimental deployment of microbial mineral carbonation at an asbestos mine : Potential applications to carbon storage and tailings stabilization. / McCutcheon, Jenine; Turvey, Connor C.; Wilson, Siobhan A.; Hamilton, Jessica L.; Southam, Gordon.

In: Minerals, Vol. 7, No. 10, 191, 12.10.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Experimental deployment of microbial mineral carbonation at an asbestos mine

T2 - Potential applications to carbon storage and tailings stabilization

AU - McCutcheon, Jenine

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AU - Hamilton, Jessica L.

AU - Southam, Gordon

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N2 - A microbial mineral carbonation trial was conducted at the Woodsreef Asbestos Mine (NSW, Australia) to test cyanobacteria-accelerated Mg-carbonate mineral precipitation in mine tailings. The experiment aimed to produce a carbonate crust on the tailings pile surface using atmospheric carbon dioxide and magnesium from serpentine minerals (asbestiform chrysotile; Mg3Si2O5(OH)4) and brucite [Mg(OH)2]. The crust would serve two purposes: Sequestering carbon and stabilizing the hazardous tailings. Two plots (0.5 m3) on the tailings pile were treated with sulfuric acid prior to one plot being inoculated with a cyanobacteria-dominated consortium enriched from the mine pit lakes. After 11 weeks, mineral abundances in control and treated tailings were quantified by Rietveld refinement of powder X-ray diffraction data. Both treated plots possessed pyroaurite [Mg6Fe2(CO3)(OH)16•4H2O] at 2 cm depth, made visible by its orange-red color. The inoculated plot exhibited an increase in the hydromagnesite [Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2•4H2O] content from 2-4 cm depth. The degree of mineral carbonation was limited compared to previous experiments, revealing the difficulty of transitioning from laboratory conditions to mine-site mineral carbonation. Water and carbon availability were limiting factors for mineral carbonation. Overcoming these limitations and enhancing microbial activity could make microbial carbonation a viable strategy for carbon sequestration in mine tailings.

AB - A microbial mineral carbonation trial was conducted at the Woodsreef Asbestos Mine (NSW, Australia) to test cyanobacteria-accelerated Mg-carbonate mineral precipitation in mine tailings. The experiment aimed to produce a carbonate crust on the tailings pile surface using atmospheric carbon dioxide and magnesium from serpentine minerals (asbestiform chrysotile; Mg3Si2O5(OH)4) and brucite [Mg(OH)2]. The crust would serve two purposes: Sequestering carbon and stabilizing the hazardous tailings. Two plots (0.5 m3) on the tailings pile were treated with sulfuric acid prior to one plot being inoculated with a cyanobacteria-dominated consortium enriched from the mine pit lakes. After 11 weeks, mineral abundances in control and treated tailings were quantified by Rietveld refinement of powder X-ray diffraction data. Both treated plots possessed pyroaurite [Mg6Fe2(CO3)(OH)16•4H2O] at 2 cm depth, made visible by its orange-red color. The inoculated plot exhibited an increase in the hydromagnesite [Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2•4H2O] content from 2-4 cm depth. The degree of mineral carbonation was limited compared to previous experiments, revealing the difficulty of transitioning from laboratory conditions to mine-site mineral carbonation. Water and carbon availability were limiting factors for mineral carbonation. Overcoming these limitations and enhancing microbial activity could make microbial carbonation a viable strategy for carbon sequestration in mine tailings.

KW - Carbonate minerals

KW - Cement precipitation

KW - Chrysotile asbestos

KW - CO storage

KW - Cyanobacteria

KW - Microbial carbonation

KW - Mine tailings

KW - Mineral carbonation

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JO - Minerals

JF - Minerals

SN - 2075-163X

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