Progress in remediation and revegetation of the barren Jales gold mine spoil after in situ treatments

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  • Michel Mench
  • Sylvie Bussière
  • Jolanda Boisson
  • Emmanuelle Castaing
  • Jaco Vangronsveld
  • Ann Ruttens
  • Tjarda De Koe
  • Petra Bleeker
  • Assuncao, Ana
  • Alain Manceau

A series of single extractions and short-term plant tests were performed in order to test a variety of inexpensive mineral amendments for the in situ inactivation of trace elements on the fine-grained spoil of the former gold mine of Jales, Portugal. Based on the results of these tests, mesocosms (lysimeters) were constructed and a small-scale semi-field trial was carried out since 1998. The long-term effect of steelshots (SS, iron grit), beringite (B), and municipal compost (C) as spoil amendments was investigated. Vegetation establishment on the treated spoils was successful with Holcus lanatus L. in year 1 and Pinus pinaster Ait. in year 2. Therefore, a detailed monitoring program was implemented for determining the sustainability of trace elements in situ inactivation by C (5%), CB (5% compost combined with 5% beringite), CSS (5% compost combined with 1% steelshots), and CBSS (5% compost combined with 5% beringite and 1% steelshots) treatments (all amendments are expressed by soil dry weight) and of the revegetation. After 3 years, revegetation was excellent in the CSS treatment, and successful for the CBSS. Volunteer plant species became established in treated spoils during year 2. In contrast, the trees planted on the C treated spoil declined from year 2 and some died. In year 3, the trees on the CB treatment started to decline. Arsenic and zinc exposure are suggested to explain the negative effects on pine growth. In agreement with results of single extractions, compost addition in the spoil increased long-term arsenic percolation. Lead leaching was also enhanced. The CBSS and CSS treatments were the most effective for limiting water-soluble As and decreasing long-term metal leaching.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)187-202
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003

    Research areas

  • Arsenic, Beringite, Leaching, Metal, Phytostabilisation, Steelshots

ID: 204119635