Mineral Carbonation refers to the permanent sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) into environmentally benign carbonate byproducts via carbonation reactions. CO2 is reacted with a mineral rich in a suitable cation, such as Ca2+ and Mg2+. This process occurs naturally as products of hydrothermal alteration and weathering. However the natural processes are slow, generally forming deposits over millions of years. Acceleration of the natural reaction will be very important in helping managing the global CO2 budget, and hence avoiding any possible climate change problems associated with CO2 release.
Of all the possible candidate minerals capable of mineral carbonation, serpentine and forsteritic-olivine are the two most abundant and widespread. Worldwide deposits of serpenitinite (a rock composed of mostly serpentine group minerals) could sequester the CO2 from all known fossil fuel reserves.