At Gahcho Kué, a sprawling diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, researchers are attempting to use the mine’s crushed rock waste to trap carbon dioxide for eternity. De Beers Group In July 2019, Gregory Dipple, a geologist at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, hopped on a 119-seat charter flight in Yellowknife, Canada, and flew 280 kilometers northeast to the Gahcho Kué diamond mine, just south of the Arctic Circle. Gahcho Kué, which means “place of the big rabbits” in the Dënësu¸łinë language of the region’s native Dené or Chipewyan people, is an expansive open pit mine ringed by sky-blue lakes. There, the mining company De Beers unearths some 4 million carats’ worth of diamonds annually. But Dipple and two students weren’t there for gems. Rather, they were looking to use the mine’s crushed rock waste as a vault to lock up carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) for eternity. At Gahcho Kué, Dipple’s team bubbled a mix of CO 2 and nitrogen gas simulating diesel exhaust through a grayish green slurry of crushed mine waste in water. Over 2 days, the slurry acquired a slight rusty hue—evidence that its iron was oxidizing while its magnesium and calcium were sucking […]

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