Marble wastes and pig slurry improve the environmental and plant-relevant properties of mine tailings

Journal ar
Environmental Geochemistry and Health
  • Volumen: 36
  • Número: 1
  • Fecha: 01 February 2014
  • Páginas: 41-54
  • ISSN: 02694042
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10653-013-9517-z
  • Document Type: Article
Poor soil fertility is often the biggest challenge to the establishment of vegetation in mine wastes deposits. We conducted field trials in the El Gorguel and El Lirio sites in SE Spain, two representative tailing ponds of similar properties except for pH, to understand the environmental and plant-relevant benefits of marble waste (MW) and pig slurry (PS) applications to mine tailings. Low pH (5.4) tailings (El Lirio) exhibit reduction of up to fourfold in bio-availability of metals as shown by the DTPA-Zn, Pb, water-soluble Zn, Pb and up to 3× for water-soluble Cd. Tailings in El Gorguel have high pH (7.4) and did not exhibit significant trends in the reductions of water-extractable Zn, Pb, Cd and Cu. Improvements to the edaphic (plant-relevant) properties of tailings after the amendments are not as sensitive to pH compared to the environmental characteristics. The two sites had increases in aggregate stability, organic matter (total N and organic C) although total N is higher in the El Gorguel (up to 212 ¿g N kg-1) than the El Lirio (up to 26 ¿g N kg-1). However, cation exchange capacities are similar in both sites at 15.2 cmol(+) kg-1. We conclude that the characteristics, especially pH, of tailing materials significantly influence the fate of metals but not improvements to plant-relevant properties such as cation exchange capacity and aggregate stability 1 year after the application of MW and PS amendments. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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