Tooling Up for Reclamation
Exploring the Potential Uses of Biochar
While Coloradoans are quick to celebrate the mining heritage of their Central Mountain towns, many are unaware that mining continues to this day—and that it will continue to play a central role in the state’s economy. Given this fact, and given the ever-stricter environmental standards and safeguards, there will be a critical, ongoing need to develop products and techniques that mitigate the negative environmental effects of mining. Biochar is one such promising product.
During Phase I of SERC’s feasibility study funded by the USDA, our advisory team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines, and Vail Resorts met with the senior metallurgist from Climax at the Henderson Mill to discuss the possibility of using nearby beetle-killed trees to produce energy and for the purpose of mining reclamation.
Subsequently, SERC’s advisory team has met with the Head of Mine Closure & Reclamation for Newmont Gold Corporation, a PRP (Personally Responsible Party) at the California Gulch Superfund Site in Leadville and Lake County, Colorado. Through a potential joint venture with Newmont Gold Corporation and ASARCO, activated carbon and biochars could be used to mitigate costs for both water treatment and reclamation. We are currently in dialog with Newmont Gold Corporation to discuss their interest in funding research in the areas of biochar and carbon capture.