Vegetation dieback on clay-capped pyritic mine waste

Menzies, N. W. and Mulligan, D. R. (2000) Vegetation dieback on clay-capped pyritic mine waste. Journal of Environmental Quality, 29 2: 437-442.

Author Menzies, N. W.
Mulligan, D. R.
Title Vegetation dieback on clay-capped pyritic mine waste
Journal name Journal of Environmental Quality   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0047-2425
Publication date 2000
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 29
Issue 2
Start page 437
End page 442
Total pages 6
Editor W.A. Dick
Place of publication Madison, WI
Publisher American Society of Agronomy
Collection year 2000
Language eng
Subject C1
300103 Soil Chemistry
770502 Land and water management
Abstract Waste reek dumps at the abandoned Rum Jungle uranium mine were capped with clay covers in order to limit entrance of water and oxygen into the dump, and hence to reduce generation of acid drainage. The soil covers consisted of a clay seal layer overlain by moisture retention and erosion resistant layers and stabilized with vegetation. An investigation of tills cover system, primarily at one of the dumps, was undertaken in response to the concern that the vegetation dieback apparent on some areas was spreading. Reduced vegetative cover could potentially threaten the integrity and effectiveness of the rehabilitation. Areas of vegetation dieback on soil covers were shown to be the result of Cu toxicity, The soil covers had been acidified and contaminated with Cu by capillary rise of water from pyritic waste immediately underlying the soil capping. Over time, the surface soil on areas with progressively deeper tapping is being contaminated, resulting in a gradual expansion of the bare area. The activity of Al3+ in the soil solution appears to be controlled in these contaminated soils by the solubility of an Al-SO4 mineral, resulting in nonphytotoxic Al levels in the surface soil, despite the low pH. The lower portion of the clay seal layer was sufficiently acid that Al toxicity would restrict root growth.
Keyword Environmental Sciences
Soil Solution
Nickel Toxicity
Root Elongation
Surface Waters
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 11:53:23 EST