Ultramafic Tailings Leaching and Lateritization with Electrolytic Acid Recycling for Critical Metal Recovery and Enhanced Mineral Carbonation

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Boulder, Colorado
Project Term:
03/20/2023 - 09/19/2024

Technology Description:

Travertine will develop an innovative process that combines strong acid-enhanced weathering and critical metal concentration and recovery in ultramafic mine tailings with an electrolytic process for sulfuric acid recycling and base production. The process will maximize the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) reactive minerals and residual critical elements from mine tailings, while minimizing waste. Carbon dioxide will be captured from air and permanently sequestered as inert carbonate minerals. Leached critical elements will be recovered as oxides. Travertine will develop the design basis for a 1 ton/day CO2 removal system to demonstrate the technical feasibility and commercial viability of this concept, taking it from proof-of-concept to field-ready. If successful, the proposed process will turn U.S. mining waste into a valuable resource for enhanced critical metal recovery and permanent CO2 sequestration by leaching existing and future tailings with chemicals that are efficiently produced and recycled using renewable electricity.

Potential Impact:

The MINER program aims to use the reactive potential of CO2-reactive ore materials to decrease mineral processing energy and increase the yield of energy-relevant minerals via novel negative emission technologies.


MINER metrics meet the U.S. need for net-zero, commercial-ready technologies that provide energy-relevant minerals for economic and national security.


In addition to demonstrating carbon negativity, the proposed technologies will quantify and reduce our impact on environmental and human health by addressing ecotoxicity, acidification of air, smog, water pollution, and more.


MINER metrics specify increasing the yield of energy-relevant minerals by reducing unrecovered energy-relevant minerals in tailings in by 50% compared with state of the art.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Dr. Laura Lammers
Press and General Inquiries Email:
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