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News Article

Mining Inactive Volcanos May Be a Greener Solution

By Karin Dilge | Fri, 09/02/2022 - 09:02

With climate change becoming a hot-button issue, an effort to make the global economy greener by moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources has intensified, said Bradford Cooke, the late Founder and Executive Chairman of Endeavour Silver. Consequently, new greener power sources and exploitation methods are being explored to contribute to the environment.

Mexico’s landscape is varied due to the geological evolution that gave rise to the formation of extensive mountain ranges of volcanic or sedimentary origin, desert and semi-desert plains, mountain ranges with active volcanos, rock complexes, reliefs and carbonate platforms. According to World Energy Trade, research proves that it is possible to extract copper, gold, silver, zinc and lithium from the brines trapped in rocks located 2km beneath inactive volcanos, resources that could be key to the transition toward green mining.

These brines are formed from the gases that the magma of the volcanos liberate and hold abundant metals. By lowering the pressure of the gases, they can be separated into steam and brine, which is how the metals end up concentrated in the dense brine trapped in the rock. Moreover, World Energy Trade reported that the brines themselves are potentially a “liquid ore” that can be extracted through wells. Through this method, the cost of extraction and processing would decrease. In addition, the process’s geothermal energy can be wielded, turning the process into a zero-emissions operation. This green mining may drastically reduce the environmental impact of conventional mining. 

All states want to continue to provide the materials required to maintain the standard of living. Few of society’s habits or activities would be possible without the raw materials required to build everyday tools. Because of this high demand, it is essential to continue supplying those minerals.

Conventional mining extracts minerals like copper in the form of solid minerals that then need to be crushed and processed. In the case of copper, 99 percent of the crushed rock ends up as a waste product even after the mine already caused a heavy environmental impact. What is more, ore mines are costly to build and dismantle, consume a lot of energy and cause a lot of emissions, report Word Energy Trade. The possibility of extracting metals in a liquid form could do away with many of these negative aspects of a mining operation.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Mining Mexico, MBN, World Energy Trade
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Karin Dilge Karin Dilge Journalist and Industry Analyst