MELBOURNE, Oct 21 (Reuters) - BHP Group is looking
at the potential to use the waste from its Australian nickel
mining operations to capture and store carbon and will conduct
field trials this financial year.
It is also harnessing new technologies to look deeper
underground for minerals critical to the energy transition like
nickel and copper, Chief Technical Officer Laura Tyler will say
at a trade conference in London, according to prepared remarks.
BHP mines the metal at its Nickel West operations in Western
Australia. It also processes nickel into high quality powder,
85% of which goes to the battery industry. This year it signed a
deal to supply nickel - a key ingredient in electric vehicle
batteries - to Tesla Inc.
Waste from Nickel West operations is high in magnesium
oxide, which can pull carbon out of the air to create magnesium
carbonate, a stable compound in the form of a salt, according to
"That material can then be left safely in situ, or used in
building materials like carbon neutral cement or plasterboard,"
her prepared remarks said.
BHPs trials will be conducted at its Mt Keith tailings dam
in Western Australia.
At five kilometres wide, the dam can already store some
40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year,
enough to offset around 15,000 average-sized combustion engine
cars. Researchers believe it could store far more CO2 every year
if the mineral carbonation rate could be enhanced through
different processes and engineering solutions.
The miner is also using real-time sensors, multi-physics
arrays and data analytics to speed up decision-making, cut
logistics requirements and increase the potential for
BHP on Wednesday topped a takeover offer for Noront
Resources Ltd from Australian billionaire Andrew
Forrest's Wyloo Metals, as the two groups vie for greater access
to the high-grade nickel deposit.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)