Seeleys Bay business making significant strides in carbon capturing

The Canadian Wollastonite property on Highway 15. Photo via the Canadian Wollastonite website.

Canadian Wollastonite (CW), a Seeley’s Bay business, is partnering with UK-based company UNDO Carbon, to play a role in one of the world’s largest enhanced rock weathering (ERW) carbon removal projects, the company says.

According to a release from CW, by spreading multi-purpose mineral wollastonite on agricultural land, this partnership enables the “generation of high-quality, permanent carbon credits while improving crops, soils, and bottom lines for Canadian farmers.” Canadian Wollastonite has set an initial goal to remove one million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the coming years.

The company explained that ERW is a nature-based carbon removal technique that permanently locks away CO2 from the atmosphere. Rock weathering has been happening naturally for millions of years, but ERW greatly accelerates the carbon capture process by grinding silicate rocks like wollastonite down to a fine powder and applying it to agricultural land. The increased surface area reacts rapidly with CO2-infused rainwater, breaking down the rock. According to the release, the weathered rock releases beneficial nutrients and bicarbonates, which eventually end up in the oceans as solid carbonate minerals, permanently removing CO2.

“We look forward to a fruitful partnership with UNDO and highly encourage farmers in eastern Canada to get in touch with us and take advantage of this
great benefit model,” said Bob Vasily, President of Canadian Wollastonite.

In operation since 2013, Canadian Wollastonite has been at the forefront of researching wollastonite’s advantages as a soil amendment, its co-benefits on
agricultural land, and its carbon capture potential via ERW for the better part of a decade, the company stated.

Working together, UNDO and Canadian Wollastonite supply crushed wollastonite to farmers at a significant discount. Through ERW, wollastonite traps and permanently locks away CO2 from the atmosphere. For every 1.6 metric tons of crushed wollastonite spread, 1 metric ton of CO2 is captured, CW detailed.

According to the release, wollastonite also boasts a wealth of benefits for farmers and our food supply.

“As the rock weathers, it releases calcium, magnesium, and silicon, as well as other major and minor nutrients into the soil. The result is greater yields, increased pest resistance, and improvement to the pH of soils,” CW stated.

Wollastonite can be spread on any field and replaces lime, a common soil additive that emits CO2. According to the release, spreading wollastonite “empowers farmers to fight climate change while positively impacting their livelihoods for years to come.”

Photo of a piece of wollastonite next to a US penny for size comparison. Photo by David Remahl, US Government, (public domain, 2004).

Canadian Wollastonite said it currently has 17 million tons of wollastonite readily available, making it a reliable and sustainable supplier for agriculture, and other industries seeking effective and measurable solutions for reducing carbon output.

While Canadian Wollastonite supplies farms with crushed wollastonite, UNDO’s ERW expertise brings extensive technical knowledge to precisely measure and verify the CO2 being captured, the company explained. CW said that UNDO has spread more than 150,000 tons of silicate rock since its founding in 2022, and this partnership enables the ERW-focused carbon removal company to scale its international operations.

“We are thrilled to be working with Canadian Wollastonite,” said Rob Palmer, Head of Emerging Technology at UNDO. “It’s exciting to see wollastonite’s advantages as a carbon removal solution and a benefit to farmers across Canada.”

With closely aligned values and a shared desire to deploy nature’s resources to pioneer radical climate action, Canadian Wollastonite said that this partnership with UNDO is “tailor-made for success.” Canadian Wollastonite is reportedly among North America’s most environmentally responsible mining companies and has planted more than 15,000 trees on its Kingston-area property. According to the release, it has developed several large wetlands, noting a marked increase in purple martin, duck, and bat populations. Less than 15 per cent of the property’s 220 hectares of land will be disturbed by mining activities, allowing environmental projects to enrich the surrounding area. Furthermore, Canadian Wollastonite plans to install solar panels in 2024 in an effort to expand the use of renewable energy powering its operations, the company shared.

Even at this early stage, UNDO’s lifecycle operations with Canadian Wollastonite boasts more than 90 per cent carbon efficiency. This means that for every 100 tons of CO2 removed through the spreading of wollastonite, less than 10 tons of CO2 are emitted in the process of mining, crushing and milling.

By the end of 2023, Canadian Wollastonite plans to have spread 10,000 tons of wollastonite on farms in Ontario on behalf of UNDO, expanding to 100,000 tons in 2024. Canadian Wollastonite is encouraging farmers and landowners in Ontario and Quebec to get in touch and find out how they can get involved.

“Canadian Wollastonite and UNDO’s partnership is truly a win-win scenario: a win for local farmers and businesses engaged in using wollastonite, and an
environmental win as the world continues the battle to stabilize and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere,” the company said.

Learn more about Canadian Wollastonite on their website.

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