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Green mines green energy : establishing productive land on mine tailings Tisch, Bryan; Zinck, Janice; Vigneault, Bernard
The CANMET Mining and Mineral Sciences Laboratories (CANMET-MMSL) of Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, has established a consortium initiative entitled “Green Mines Green Energy”. The consortium is composed of representatives from mining, forestry, government, academia and the private sector. The goal is to expand the practice of mine reclamation by furthering the use of organic residuals for the rehabilitation of mine sites - to the extent that they can be used to establish feedstock for the production of biofuels. There is increasing pressure on industry and municipalities to divert clean organic waste materials from landfill and to establish productive uses for them. In many areas of Canada, these materials (particularly municipal SSO compost) are in reasonably close proximity to mines, and may offer a relatively stable, long term, beneficial disposal strategy. Laboratory studies are underway to investigate the potential impact of these materials on tailings oxidation and effluent chemistry, as well as the effect of biosolids/compost-derived dissolved organic carbon on effluent treatability and toxicity. The construction of several half-hectare field plots began on mine sites in 2008. This paper provides an overview of the Green Mines Green Energy initiative and a summary of laboratory and field testing undertaken to date. Overall, preliminary results from the column study suggest that sulphate reduction at the tailings – biosolids interface is occurring, and that steady state has not yet been reached after more than 1 year of testing. Furthermore, the addition DOC has had no significant effect on effluent treatability or toxicity.
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