Rehabilitation of mine tailings in Southern Africa

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Piet Van Deventer

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Rehabilitation of mine tailings is not necessarily a new science but rather a collection of established technologies and experiences with new approaches and in some cases, it includes new experimental and research results. This presentation discusses a multi-phase rehabilitation approach on the most abundant tailings materials in South Africa by means of case studies and site-specific analytical results. The first and most important objective of tailings rehabilitation is to stabilise the surface to prevent or minimise wind and water erosion. The most appropriate principle is to follow a multi-phase approach and the first is to identify the site-specific attributes which have a major or composite influence on the end product. These are (in alphabetic order): Climate Geochemistry: dispersiveness, EC, K fixation-deficiency Landscape functionality * Microbiology: enzyme activity Mineralogy: AMD Organic carbon: C:N ratio, soil microbiology Slope geometry: slope angle and length Soil quality and health Species selection Surface covers: top soil, rock armour, rock cladding, amelioration Texture: particle size distribution The following phase is to prioritize these attributes according to their real time environmental quality in terms of their influence on the long-term functionality of the rehabilitation end product. Thereafter it is up to the rehabilitation scientists to determine the follow-up phases.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration