Digging deep wells beneath dormant volcanoes to suck out the metal-containing fluids trapped beneath them, according to Oxford scientists, is a more sustainable method to copper mining.
The way copper is currently extracted: Open pits are the most common extraction method. Near-surface rocks are detonated with explosives and then transported to processing plants. There is a small amount of copper in the stone, so it is crushed to recover it.
This extraction method frequently uses hazardous chemicals, and once the copper has been extracted, the waste rock must be transported to a disposal facility to avoid contaminating the environment.
The problem: Copper mining involves a lot of digging, extracting, and transporting, which can be energy-intensive and damaging to the environment — but the world needs more copper than ever before.
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Copper is a significant component in solar, wind, and hydro producers, and alternative fuels contain four times as much as their fossil-fuel-powered counterparts. Consequently, copper will play an essential role in the transition to a more sustainable energy future.
It would also be less damaging to the environment since geothermal energy from the eruptions can fuel the process.
Copper mining would not be restricted to only a few nations, as it is now, due to the widespread presence of dormant volcanoes.
The following stages are as follows: The team is now looking for a location to drill an exploratory well, which will help them better understand the possibilities and the challenges of tapping into this new metal supply.
“We hope that scientists and governments alike will embrace green mining as a scientific and engineering challenge in the quest to net zero,” Blundy added.