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Serpentinites used for carbon dioxide sequestration : a possible economic source for PGE

Description: The platinum-group elements (PGE: Ru, Rh, Pd, Os, Ir, Pt) are among the most valuable metals in the world. Their myriad uses in electronics, jewelry, catalysis, and the automotive industry have increased PGE demand several fold in the last few decades, but the past few years have seen PGE supply largely unable to keep up with the increasing demand. Although the PGE are found in many types of rock bodies, in most cases they are present in such low concentrations that it is not economically feasible to extract them. The few economically mineable deposits generally fall into two categories: layered ultramafic intrusive deposits, such as the Bushveld Complex in South Africa, which contain PGE-bearing ore veins; and copper/nickel-bearing veins, such as the Norilsk-Talnakh District in Russia, in which the PGE are extracted as a byproduct of Cu/Ni mining. Only one economic PGE deposit exists in the United States (the Stillwater Complex in Montana), and it is small compared to the Russian and South African deposits (which supply most of the world's PGE needs). The recent interest in the use of serpentinites and ultramafic rocks as possible reservoirs for carbon dioxide sequestration has opened the door to another possible economic source for the PGE. Theoretically, the magnesium silicates in the ultramafic rocks and serpentinites can be reacted with carbon dioxide (either from the air or as a waste stream from a fossil fuel plant) to produce thermodynamically and geologically stable magnesium carbonates, which can be easily disposed of. The deposits being investigated for this process are located throughout the world; there are several in the U.S. alone. The PGE concentrations in these deposits are fairly low, and by themselves the deposits are not economically feasible sources for the PGE. However, part of the proposed carbonation process requires the crushing and magnetic ...
Date: January 1, 2001
Creator: Porter, K. A. (Katherine A.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department