Minnesota, with a population of about five million, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, and a state that is vulnerable to climate change, such as the impact that increased frequency or severity of drought or storms would have on agriculture, water supply, wildlife, lake levels, and public security. Minnesota therefore has an interest in reducing our own vulnerability, while concurrently contributing to needed world-wide solutions. As has been stressed, for example, in documents prepared for and by the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, emissions reductions can have multiple benefits, including conservation, cost efficiency, and air quality enhancement, while also directly contributing to mitigation of climate change. Anthropogenic climate change seems already to have begun, however, so adaptation to climate change accompanies mitigation in the climate change policy agenda. Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved through reduced fossil fuel combustion, while concurrently capturing and storing carbon in biomass, or in geologic repositories. It has become apparent that the best approach is likely to be for several options to concurrently be implemented.
Minnesota may be well positioned to utilize the mineral carbonation method of geologic carbon sequestration, given the presence of vast tonnages of appropriate rock material in the Duluth region, some of which could be mined for copper, nickel, and platinum group elements, pending the outcome of current permitting procedures. Should these deposits go into production, a slurry of minerals suitable for mineral carbonation of CO2 would be produced as a waste product from the mines. The principal constraint to mineral carbonation at present appears to be cost. Nevertheless, there could be developments in the method, and there could be circumstances in which a particularly favorable mineral carbonation opportunity could coincide with constraints to other aspects of the sequestration procedure, such as considerations regarding transportation, thus possibly making mineral carbonation a conceivable option.
Thorleifson, L.H., 2011, Potential for implementation of mineral carbonation as a carbon sequestration method in Minnesota: Minnesota Geological Survey Open-File Report 11-2, 26 p.
Minnesota Minerals Coordinating Committee
OFR11-02, Potential for Implementation of Mineral Carbonation as a Carbon Sequestration Method in Minnesota.
Minnesota Geological Survey.
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