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China: Chinese mining companies adopt new technologies to cut carbon emissions.

Iron tailings, traditionally an industrial waste, can now play a role in environmental protection.

In northeast China’s Jilin Province, more than 70 hectares of saline-alkali soil have been transformed into fertile land that can produce 7,500 kg of rice per hectare with the help of iron tailings.

“We make use of the unique physical and chemical characteristics of iron tailings to improve the soil quality,” said Xiong Hongqi, deputy general manager of Ansteel Mining Co., Ltd.

Many mining companies shared their experiences of carbon emission reduction at the 23rd China Mining Conference and Exhibition that concluded Saturday in north China’s Tianjin Municipality.

A drilling rig with a platform of about 10 square meters was among the exhibits that caught the attention of visitors. Compared with traditional drilling rigs that come with a platform of over 100 square meters, this unique rig is small in size and environmentally friendly.

“Drilling rigs with smaller platforms cause less damage to vegetation when used for work on the ground. Besides, it is convenient to transport for mineral exploration and no road construction is required,” said Zheng Bo, vice general manager of EGR(Zhuhai) Special Drilling Equipment.

To cut carbon emissions, some companies have focused on the exploration of new energy. China Energy Chemistry Lvneng Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd. made efforts to use geothermal water for winter heating.

Unlike traditional geothermal heating technology that extracts geothermal water from 200 meters underground, the technology used by the company injects water into a U-shaped closed butt well with a vertical depth of about 2,500 meters and takes underground heat.

“We don’t extract geothermal water from underground because it is not good for the groundwater environment. We inject pipe water into the U-shaped well to obtain underground heat,” said Zhang Jing, an engineer with the company.

Besides, many companies have built solar power, wind power and hydro-power plants in mines to push forward the development of new energy.

According to the 2021 China Mineral Resources released by China’s Ministry of Natural Resources, based on remote sensing monitoring, statistical data shows that approximately 41,600 hectares of mining sites were newly rehabilitated across the country in 2020.

Chen Jinghe, executive director of Zijin Mining, said that carbon emission reduction is a global trend that brings both opportunities and challenges for the mining industry. Major technological breakthroughs are an inevitable requirement for cutting carbon emissions.

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