Biochar makeover for abandoned mines?

See the infographic from High Country News.

Abandoned mines — about 31,000 of them — linger like ghosts on the West’s public lands. It’s harder to find exact numbers for old mines on private land, but Colorado, for example, has about 14,000, compared to 3,299 public-land sites. In the San Juan Mountains, water from snowmelt and rainfall picks up mining remnants like arsenic, lead, cadmium and zinc from tailings piles, delivering them to the headwaters of the Animas River. This mineral runoff can harm fish, insects and other small river organisms. To help revegetate and stabilize the acidic, plant-hostile soils around mine sites, scientists are borrowing a technique from agricultural research: They apply biochar, a charcoal formed by heating plant and wood waste in the absence of oxygen, to the soil. The carbon-dense char, used to boost soil fertility on farms, helps plants get established in barren mine sites, reducing contaminated runoff.

  0 comments for “Biochar makeover for abandoned mines?

  1. August 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    For more information about the use of Biochar for Mine and land remediation, join the Yahoo group:

    “Biochar-Remediation” is the home for discussion devoted to technical issues concerning biochar use as a soil and environmental remediation technology. This will be the place where words such as “runoff”, “leaching”, “decontamination” and “biostimulation” will be used. This list will also be the predominant location of terms such as “phytoremediation”, “pollutants”,…

    You can also find a lively discussion group on LinkedIn at the:
    Invasives, Remediation and Restoration Subgroup of “Biochar Offsets”

    Lloyd Helferty, President
    Biochar Ontario
    Steering Committee member, Canadian Biochar Initiative

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