Innovate to Sustainably Restore a Mining Site: Drawing Inspiration from Nature

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Hugo Thibaudeau Robitaille, Martin Beaudoin-Nadeau, Evgéniya Smirnova, Mariana, Trindade, Léonie Côté, Roudy Jean, Damase P. Khasa

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The restoration of mines in northern Canada presents numerous challenges. Site remoteness, high transportation costs and harsh weather limiting plant growth reduce the number of restoration methods that can be used efficiently. Since 2016, T² Environnement and ViridisTerra have established several experimental trials aimed at developing an innovative low-cost and -input ecological restoration strategy adapted to arctic harsh environment conditions for TSMC iron ore mine sites in Northern Quebec/Labrador. The trials are located on the waste dumps generated by the mining activities. Numerous treatments of different methods, technologies, and techniques were set up in order to select those best suited to the edapho-climatic characteristics of the mine sites: low-input site preparation methods, different types of amendment and various planting methods combined with the use of different indigenous tree, shrub, and grass species. In parallel, a fungal inoculant was developed in collaboration with Université Laval. A total of 456 culturable fungi were isolated from healthy native plant roots and 376 of them were successfully identified and associated to 106 taxa based on rDNA internal transcribed spacer analysis (ITSF-1 and ITS-4). Nine out these potential fungal isolates were tested in vitro and in vivo, respectively, for their morphophysiological performance under abiotic stress conditions of high iron concentrations. The results of 2018 and 2019 field trials will be presented at the conference along with the main outcomes of the inoculant development. These scientific and technical advances allow us to envision their immediate application in the field for the regreening of arctic mine sites.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program