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We are aware of potential issues with nickel contamination in olivine and will be testing/monitoring for it. Nickel is found in formations of olivine where nickel replaces some of the magnesium ions in their crystal lattices, however, if we do have a large reserve with high content of nickel, we have a technique available to plant nickel hyperaccumulating plants above the crushed olivine to phytomine the nickel content. It is then possible to put the plants in a furnace and get 10% ore back, which we would then sell and use to further fund operations...

"In simple laboratory tests small nickel ingots were produced from the plant ashes. Sowing these plants on appropriate soils and harvesting them at the end of the growing season makes for an environmentally friendly way of recovering nickel. Because these plants extract nickel from the olivine lattice, for every ton of nickel in the plants 330 tons of olivine must weather, equivalent to a capture of 400 tons of CO 2 . Weathering proceeds faster under vegetation. The introduction of this method could revolutionize the nickel mining industry."

See page 8-9 of the Green Cookery Book here for more in-depth information on the technique: https://projectvesta.org/science/#dflip-df_103/9/ Or see this paper specifically on the topic: Schuiling, R.D. (2013) Farming nickel from non-ore deposits, combined with CO2 sequestration.




This answer strongly reminds me of Joel Spolsky's BillG review story [1]. It's confidence-inspiring that you've already spent time looking into these things.

[1] https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2006/06/16/my-first-billg-rev...


I'm a little confused by this, though I see your link picks it out as still speculative.

You're planning to put the olivine on the beaches, the nickel accumulating plants will be planted above. So presumably they'll be as exposed to the action of the sea as the olivine. The document talks of use in poor soils, but no mention of coastal or beach. You've identified species suitable for that level of salt water exposure? If the plants are beyond the high tide mark, won't most of it get into the ocean first?


I read it as the olivine would be mined, plants would be used to extract nickel, and then the olivine would be moved to beaches.


Ah right, so a first pass before it gets to the beach, that makes much more sense now! Though no doubt introduces its own challenges related to how long it needs to sit under foliage before it's beach ready. :)


This is great! Presumably natural olivine outcrops also sometimes produce high nickel levels nearby, no? What are the surrounding ecosystems like?


How long will the plants take to remove the nickel from the Olivine?




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