British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Beneficial use of municipal biosolids in mine reclamation to achieve a narrative of layered co-benefits for mines and municipal biosolids generators Teshima, Mark A.; Lavery, John M.


There have been several expert opinions expressed recently suggesting that few land application options for municipal biosolids have as much benefit as mine reclamation. As our understanding of biosolids evolves, a re-assessment of how they can solve mine reclamation challenges and meet societal needs is a worthwhile endeavour. The use of biosolids and other organic residuals in reclamation views the residuals as both amendments, improving soil productivity, and as feedstocks in topsoil fabrication, which increases total topsoil quantity. Their use also offers the opportunity to reconsider reclamation through the lens of economic growth, with reclamation leading to a new economy, supplementing the previous mining economy. Improved soils used in reclamation enable a range of opportunities for mines. Vegetation development is rapid, and can accommodate reclamation mixture grasses, productive agriculture, or even native forest species in the reclamation plan. The opportunity also exists to develop a highly productive biomass agroforestry system, which has the added potential of economic development on the land base. The BIOSALIX project was developed by SYLVIS to mitigate the stresses of energy transition through innovative mine reclamation practices at Westmoreland Mining’s Paintearth Mine. EPCOR Water Services (Edmonton) biosolids are used as a key tool to achieve climate change mitigation, economic renewal, and environmental enhancement in a broad narrative of change and evolution. The project involves establishment of large-scale willow plantations across mine land requiring reclamation. Biosolids improve willow establishment by amending and augmenting the marginally productive soils. These systems generate a sustainable crop which can be harvested on a continuous basis and used as a carbon source for ongoing reclamation, and as feedstock for composting, bioenergy, and bioproducts. The BIOSALIX project demonstrates the achievement of mine reclamation and realization of co-benefits provided by biosolids use to the mine, the biosolids generator, and the community.

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