Waste Land to Biofuel Source
CIM Toronto 2009
Graeme A Spiers, Peter Becket, Bryan Tisch,
Large scale feasibility studies for the establishment of oil-seed and cellulose producing crops on mine tailings have been successfully conducted with the purpose of these crops to be used as feed stock to the biofuels industry. An acid sulphide tailings impoundment in Copper Cliff, Ontario and a near neutral pH goldmine tailings impoundment in Timmins, Ontario were both tested by amending ½ hectare plots to approximately 1 m thick with residual biosolids from the pulp and paper industry and growing canola and corn on these plots. Full scale agricultural equipment was used to cultivate, seed and harvest the plots to prove the full scale feasibility of farming on these biosolids. The vegetation development, growth, yield, quality and composition was assessed to identify the best species that would maximize biomass development for feed stock to the biofuels industry and carbon credits for the mining industry. Groundwater, amendment materials and tailings chemistries were investigated to identify potential deleterious impacts of degrading organic matter on tailings metal mobility. Preliminary hydrologic investigations using moisture sensor profiles elucidate potential conservation of water in amended plots.
Tailings amended with biosolids have the potential to provide industry with carbon credits and supply feedstock to this new industry while reclaiming brownfields to a new level, utilizing industrial and municipal organic waste material.
Reclamation, Biofuels, biosolids, Hydrology, Tailings, crop yield, Geochemistry, carbon credits