These are a few of the tales that sparked essentially the most curiosity in 2020

Battery metals and power storage

With virtually 88Okay web page views, the article a few nano-diamond battery that lasts for 28,000 years being closer to becoming a commercial product took one of many high spots within the science & expertise class. 

On this similar grouping, a narrative on how cobalt may substitute platinum in fuel cells because of a extremely lively catalyst that incorporates Co interspersed with nitrogen and carbon, additionally caught our readers’ eyes.

Diamonds are additionally being investigated in relation to their function as semiconductors and the opportunity of utilizing them to power the electrical grid and electric vehicles more efficiently, undoubtedly sparked some consideration.

Past planet Earth

My colleague Cecilia Jamasmie shares a few of this curiosity in science tales. In a yr as difficult as 2020, she determined to take a while to look away from the chaos of Earth and, as a substitute, stare on the stars. 

Virtually 200,000 individuals joined her in taking a look at what is occurring in outer house, significantly when NASA found a rare metal asteroid worth more than the global economy

The Moon additionally caught Cecilia’s consideration and that of 1000’s of readers after NASA discovered proof that the Earth’s pure satellite tv for pc might, beneath its floor, be richer in metals than previously thought, a discovering that elevated the attractiveness of ongoing proposals to start out mining the Moon as early as 2025.

Russia, nevertheless, wasn’t too pleased with the US concept to mine the Moon. The Kremlin criticized its long-time rival for proposing the Artemis Accords to contain different nations within the quest to put people and house stations on the celestial physique inside the subsequent decade.

A have a look at the previous

MINING.COM readers not solely felt that they had been getting into the previous when studying about this revived house rivalry between Russia and the US, but in addition by diving right into a collection of tales that look into historic occasions and their affect on how issues are right this moment.

The lost fragment of an ancient continent discovered at De Beers Canada’s Chidliak venture in Nunavut gathered lots of curiosity, as did the Roman-era warships found at a Serbian coal mine.

Folks had been additionally drawn to curious articles, such because the one which explains why a big deposit of uncommon earths is linked to the existence of fossilized fish.

Additionally they discovered it fascinating how scientists lastly discovered proof of a mysterious particle that had been theorized about for the reason that 1930s and the way gold, vanadium and europium played a key role in figuring out it.

Re-evaluating how issues have been accomplished previously, together with the way in which minerals are categorised beneath the two-century-old New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification, was additionally a subject of curiosity.

Actually, many appeared to be on board with the concept of a new evolutionary system of mineral classification that features historic knowledge and displays modifications within the range and distribution of minerals by greater than 4 billion years of Earth’s historical past. 

Funky extractive applied sciences

Our neighborhood not solely was drawn to new methods of understanding minerals and metals but in addition to cutting-edge mechanisms for extracting them. If such mechanisms contain having a decrease environmental and societal footprint, readers appeared to have been much more drawn to find out about them.  

The promise of a brand new expertise that makes use of ligand-assisted chromatography to remove and purify rare earth metals from coal ash, recycled magnets and uncooked ore safely and with nearly no detrimental environmental impression, was amongst our readers’ favourite tales final yr. 

The potential for effectively extracting REEs from acid mine drainage additionally caught individuals’s consideration, as did the concept of utilizing iron-storing bacteria to mine gold and copper.

On the opposite aspect of the spectrum, as a substitute of extracting treasured and transition metals, some researchers are trying into utilizing them to generate hydrogen from salt and polluted water to assist sort out the worldwide power problem.

Others taking a look at mining from a unique perspective are these working with lab-grown diamonds, a expertise that’s evolving so quick that scientists had been capable of produce diamonds in minutes at room temperature by “simply” making use of pressures equal to 640 African elephants on the tip of a ballet shoe.

The diamond story sparked lots of curiosity, not solely due to the unimaginable feat of rising diamonds so shortly but in addition as a result of the venture concerned creating lonsdaleite, which has the potential for use for reducing by ultra-solid supplies on mining websites.


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