who said moneydosn't grown on trees - lookout biol

  1. 252 Posts.
    this article was on the Sudbury Times (where Inco main Nickel processing plant workers r striking) the Bio- leaching proponents better get their fingers out. theses guys wanna grow it.......a bit cheaper for very low grade than a heap leach i would think !!!! LOL

    Nickel farms touted as future cash crop

    Would also help clean up city’s environment

    By Diana Oddi/For The Sudbury Star

    Friday, May 30, 2003 - 11:00

    Local News - If a top American researcher has his way, Sudburians could one day be farming for nickel.

    Rufus Chaney, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said a farming method called phytoremediation can help clean up Sudbury’s environment, while generating a new source of profit.

    Phytoremediation uses plants to absorb toxic heavy metals from the ground, Chaney told delegates at this week’s 2003 Mining and the Environment Conference, held at Laurentian University.

    Chaney, who is based in Maryland, said he and his team are experimenting with the alyssum murale plant (not to be confused with sweet alyssum found in Canada).

    “This plant will take metal out of any severely chemical-contaminated soil,” Chaney said.

    “This will remediate nickel-contaminated soils and use the waste of the current nickel in the soil as an ore resource creating a profit.”

    Chaney, an award-winning researcher, said the first thing his team does is neutralize the acidic soil, using limestone.

    Alyssum seeds are then planted, much like a hay crop. The plant acts as a vacuum, absorbing nickel and other metals in the soil.

    “The alyssum plant is mature when it reaches approximately three feet tall,” Chaney said. “Once it reaches that height, it is ready to be harvested.”

    When the alyssum plant is harvested, it is cut and dried the same way a farmer would cure a crop of hay. The alyssum is then baled and sold to different companies that extract and sell the nickel inside the plant.

    “We use the same technology a farmer would use,” he said. “Instead of farming corn or hay, we are farming nickel through plants.”

    The alyssum bales are then burned and the ash left over contains nickel. Chaney said nickel is separated from the ash by heating the ash to an extreme temperature.

    Nickel, being a metal, will sink to the bottom.

    “It’s like any other crop — the content of the crop can vary,” he said. “You have to then figure out a way to pay the farmers for what they bring into the market.

    “We’re going to have to take random sample out of the bales that they bring in and analyze the nickel content in every load so the farmer gets paid what he deserves.”

    Chaney said it could take five years before it’s used in Sudbury, but he believes phytoremediation has exciting potential.

    “Not only are we cleaning up the soils, but we are making a profit as well,” he said. “I see this as a new technology to compliment traditional mining.

    “It will also help clean up the mess left decades ago. At that time, technology was immature and caused a dispersal of metal.

    “Now we’ll use this method to help solve those problems in your community and other places around the world.”

    ID- 33468

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