A new way is
described to recover nickel from common rock-types, by the use of nickel hyperaccumulator
plants. The idea of phytomining nickel was suggested earlier, but never implemented.
This situation may soon change, because the mining sector suffers from a poor
image on account of the impact of mining on the environment, and would like to
reduce the pollution and high energy consumption associated with metal
extraction. Once phytomining is established as a viable way of nickel
production, it is likely that governments will impose nickel mines to realize
part of their nickel production by this method. This will lead to a
considerable decrease of CO2 emissions. Phytomining from rocks rich
in olivine or serpentine is CO2-negative. When metal extraction
goes hand in hand with CO2 sequestration, it will improve the image
of the mining sector. Other advantages include that unproductive soils can
serve to grow nickel hyperaccumulator
plants and recover nickel. The extensive mining technology can provide employment to many poor farmers/miners. Countries that want to be
self-sufficient in strategic materials, and avoid spending foreign currency on
importing them can switch to phytomining. This paper treats different aspects
of future nickel farming.
Cite this paper
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