Thursday, July 17, 2014

WE DON'T NEED GEOLOGISTS ANYMORE: here's what you need to know

Now this is neat.

Forbes - the astonishing nickel-eating plant that could change mining.

Discovery - using flowers to concentrate platinum.

Hey, the future is the age of genetic engineering, no? So why wouldn't we someday use plants to concentrate minerals from the soil, instead of mining them?

Though of course whereas traditional mining attacks an orebody that's a half-mile deep, biomining would only be "mining" the top six inches of soil. And thus you're left with barren soil (nothing will grow if the soil doesn't have enough copper, magnesium, and so on).

Funny thing is it's not a very new idea. James Lovelock wrote decades ago about the iodine cycle, where seaweed "mines" iodine from the sea's dissolved salts and then concentrates it in its tissues; then the seaweed washes up on shore, rots, and produces methyl iodide vapour which gets taken up in the air and rained down over land. The iodine cycle is important because it prevents goitre.

There are other mineral cycles that are entirely plant-dependent too.

Anyway, it's a neat idea, and you should probably sell all your mining company shares because mining is doomed.

UPDATE: Cookie Monster's take on the idea is "tonnage seems rather limited". Then again, I guess he would say that.

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