British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Phosphorus fixation characteristics of Valley Mine tailings Hackinen, Coleen Marie, 1957-

Abstract

Phosphorus is often a limiting plant nutrient and, when applied as fertilizer, may be "fixed" in forms unavailable to plants. Thus an understanding of phosphorus behaviour in mine tailings is important to any reclamation program. Phosphorus adsorption isotherms were constructed for three copper mine tailing materials, one of which had been subjected to artificial weathering in Soxhlet apparatus. Equilibrating conditions were: 23 degrees C, O.01 M CaCl2 and distilled water, for 72 hours. There was no difference in adsorption as a result of the ionic concentration of the equilibrating solution. This was probably a reflection of the extremely low cation exchange capacity of the tailing material. Adsorption behaviour in all samples was best described by the Langmuir equation. Maximum adsorption of the untreated material occurred as 42-48 [nu/g P/g tailings, whereas the artificially weathered tailing adsorption maximum as reached as 105 [nu/g P/g tailings. At equilibrium concentrations exceeding approximately 60 ppm P, precipitation reactions were indicated. To obtain an equilibrium concentration of 0.5 ppm P in solution, the equivalent of 41 kg P2O5/ha must be supplied.

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