Vancouver-based nickel mining company FPX Nickel Corp has begun the first-ever field tests designed to confirm the potential for the development for a low- or zero-carbon mining operation at its Baptiste Project in the Decar Nickel District in Central British Columbia.

Initiated in August by researchers from the University of British Columbia, the field tests build on previous positive laboratory tests, which show that the Baptise Project’s tailings can adsorb considerable quantities of CO2 when exposed to air through a natural process of mineral carbonation.

“This test programme is designed primarily to estimate the potential of Baptiste tailing to permanently sequester significant quantities of carbon dioxide by direct air capture under natural conditions and as consequence of the proposing mining and milling process.” said Martin Turenne, FPX Nickel’s President and CEO. 

“The Baptiste Project has the potential to be a lobal leader in the large-scale production of low- or zero-carbon nickel for decades to come.”

Field tests at the site will run until October (2020) and are being conducted on splits of a 300kg sample to simulate the rate and volume of carbon sequestration by direct air capture of CO2 from Baptiste tailings under field conditionals.

The test programme is being conducted in two stages. The first stage took place in August at an outdoor location in Prince George which approximates the climactic conditions at the Decar Nickel District.

Phase two of the testing comprises of an extended study to be conducted both outdoor and in a laboratory in the Vancouver area in September and October. Testing at the latter stage will assess the rate and quantity of carbon capture.

Funding for the field testing has been provided, in part, by the Government of Canada’s Clean Growth Programme, which in 2019 awarded $2m grant to researchers from UBC, Trent University, University of Alberta and Université INRS, working in collaboration with mining companies including FPX Nickel Corp.