De Beers, the diamond unit of Anglo American, will attempt to capture carbon within the rock from which diamonds are extracted in order to offset its harmful emissions and reduce a tax it might have to pay on carbon emissions at its South Africa mines. De Beers plans to pilot the carbon capture project at an as-yet-unselected mine beginning in 2019.
De Beers says it will store carbon dioxide in the kimberlite rock once the diamonds have been removed, according to Reuters. Project leader and geologist Evelyn Mervine said the carbon can be stored in the kimberlite indefinitely. This could completely offset the carbon emissions of its power generators by a process that would store the gas safely in kimberlite waste rock. De Beers says it could achieve carbon-neutral status at some operations within five to 10 years (via Bloomberg).
A South African carbon tax is expected to be enacted by early 2018; this follows a decade of debate which led to the creation of tax-free exemptions. These exemptions reduce tax liability to 60% to 95% of total emissions (that is, the carbon tax will be imposed on only 5% to 40% of actual emissions during the first phase), Bloomberg wrote in March.
De Beers says it recognizes its responsibility to mine diamonds “safely and sustainably, and always while focusing on delivering real benefits for our partners in our operating countries that will be realized long after our last mine closes.” In its recently published “Report to Society,” De Beers pointed out that it manages 164,000 hectares of land for conservation, “an area five times the size of that affected by the company’s mining activities.” It also invested in Diamox, Element Six’s industrial wastewater treatment system, writes Diamond World.