Alhar, MAM, Thompson, DF and Oliver, IW (2021) Mine spoil remediation via biochar addition to immobilise potentially toxic elements and promote plant growth for phytostabilisation. Journal of Environmental Management, 277. 111500 - ?. ISSN 1095-8630

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There are thousands of disused and abandoned mining sites around the world with substantial accumulations of exposed mine spoil materials that pose a direct threat to their surrounding environment. Management of such sites, and neutralisation of the environmental threats they pose, is therefore extremely important and is an issue of global significance. Low cost management and remediation strategies need to be developed because many abandoned mine sites are in remote and/or economically challenged areas. One promising option is the incorporation of biochar into spoil materials, which has the potential to immobilise leachable toxic constituents and facilitate revegetation and thereby stabilisation of spoil heaps. This study investigated the capacity of readily available biochar materials made from wheat and rice waste products to immobilise and retain key metallic contaminants Pb and Zn from solution, and also investigated the utility of biochar application for remediating mine spoil heaps from different mine types in terms of facilitating establishment of vegetation coverage and minimising porewater element mobility within spoil heaps. The results demonstrated the high sorption capacity of the biochars (typically >97% of Pb or Zn in solution) and their ability to retain the metals despite an active desorption procedure (>93% of sorbed Pb retained and >75% of sorbed Zn). The remediation trial revealed that biochar application increased plant yield and decreased plant assimilation of many potentially toxic elements and also decreased spoil porewater concentrations of Al, Cd, Pb and Zn in most cases. In some spoil types investigated biochar addition also significantly decreased porewater concentrations of As (e.g. from ~30 mg/L to ~5 mg/L), demonstrating its potential utility for low cost environmental remediation across a range of mine spoil types.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final accepted version of this artcile and all relevant information can be found online at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mine spoil; Remediation; Biochar; Phytostabilisation; Porewater; PTE
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QE Geology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2020 11:04
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2022 01:30

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