British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The requirement for a sustainable restoration project Thorpe, Mark B.


Land disturbed by mining should be restored to its original state when the mine is decommissioned. Before this can be accomplished, the problems associated with the site, such as toxicity, moisture supply and texture, must be overcome. The biological processes in the disturbed land are drastically disrupted and must be rehabilitated to establish the fundamental building blocks of the ecosystem. The land may need to pass through several "conditioning" stages before the appropriate conditions are present to allow the desired species to become established. Links nee to be formed to maintain a functioning ecosystem. One of the key aspects to rehabilitation is to increase the organic matter content of the substrate. This improves soil structure, increases the moisture holding ability and provides a pool for nutrient cycling. Mine wastes often have little or no organic matter and methods overcome this problem must be applied before nutrients for the desired ecosystem can be supplied, primarily, from within that system.

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