The use of a sustainable biochar compost for stabilizing and revegetating metal-mine tailings heaps

Conference Dates

August 20-25, 2017


Anthropogenic activities, particularly mining and smelting, have led to an increase in heavy-metal pollution harmful to human, animal and environmental health. Metal mining has global-scale impacts, with many mine sites being characterised by bare, steep sided, heavily polluted tailings heaps containing metals such as Zn, Pb, Cu and Cd at toxic concentrations. Their unvegetated slopes are highly erodible, causing fine-grained metals to be widely deposited on floodplains and pastureland after heavy rain. This threat is predicted to increase with future climate change. Our recent research focusses on remediation of these sites using a sustainably sourced, enhanced biochar compost to revegetate and stabilise the steep slopes of the tailings heaps, thereby reducing metal mobility.

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