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Alyson Gagnon, Pascal Sirois et Jean-François Bouche
Mining activities generate residues during the ore concentration process which results in large tailings storage facilities in Quebec, Canada. According to the guidelines of Quebec’s Mining act, a minimal revegetation by using grasses or shrubs is required to reclaim tailings. It is hypothesized that the reclamation of mine tailings using planted woody species and soil organic amendments will increase vegetation diversity, compared to the minimal requirements with sown grasses. Experimental designs were established on tailings impoundments at Mont-Wright (iron ore, 52°46’N, 67°20’W) in 2015, and at St-Honoré (niobium ore, 48°32’N, 71°08’W) in 2012. The objective was to determine among the different reclamation methods – combinations of planted woody species with soil organic amendments (papermill sludge biosolids (PMS), chicken manure, or topsoil) – which one increased the most plant community diversity on both sites, considering their respective climate contexts. Results show that at St-Honoré, PMS mixed with topsoil enhanced the total percent plant cover, and reduced evenness (J’) and diversity (1- D). Plantations of woody species had no significant effect on diversity indexes (total percent cover, S, J’, and 1-D). At MontWright, PMS mixed with chicken manure brought in the highest total plant cover, while the combination of chicken manure with topsoil, and the single application of topsoil and PMS, resulted in the highest values of evenness (J’) and diversity (1-D). Overall, PMS and topsoil were generally comparable as soil amendments in both mine sites studied, in their capacity to promote plant community diversity.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program