Eco-engineering soil from mine tailings for native plant rehabilitation (2016–2020)
Sustainable rehabilitation of tailings at metal mine sites is severely constrained by soil resource deficiency. Building on our recent findings of critical processes in soil formation from Cu/Pb-Zn tailings, we aim to develop an integrated technology through eco-engineering the mineralogy and organic constituents of tailings to initiate and accelerate soil formation by using magnetite tailings as a template. The technology will be underpinned by research to mediate and stimulate key biogeochemical and rhizosphere processes in the tailing-soil towards a functional 'technosol'. We aim to apply this technology at metal mines in Australia, to offset the soil required for rehabilitating tailings landforms with native plant communities.