Mining and natural resource development in the Canadian north has produced large areas of disturbance and volumes of waste, necessitating reclamation. This study focused on building anthroposols in a greenhouse using waste material from Diavik Diamond Mine. There were six substrates (crushed rock, lakebed sediment, processed kimberlite, and its combinations), seven organic amendments (sewage, soil, peat, Black Earth, biochar, and its combinations), a control, and two nutrient treatments (with and without fertilizer). Substrates and amendments were mixed and seeded with three grass species. Soil properties and vegetation responses were assessed. Substrate structure was a challenge; crushed rock and processed kimberlite had little fine material and lakebed sediment was compacted. Processed kimberlite and sewage had metal concentrations (barium, chromium, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, and zinc) above guidelines. Vegetation established on all anthroposols, with plant growth and density greatest in crushed rock, followed by 25% processed kimberlite with 75% lakebed sediment and 100% lakebed sediment. Substrates amended with peat and (or) soil had the greatest plant density and belowground biomass; substrates amended with sewage and sewage–soil had greatest aboveground biomass. Fertilizer had a limited effect. With appropriate amendments, waste materials at the mine showed potential as reclamation soils.
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