Gardner, W. C., Naeth, M. A., Broersma, K., Chanasyk, D. S. and Jobson, A. M. 2012. Influence of biosolids and fertilizer amendments on element concentrations and revegetation of copper mine tailings. Can. J. Soil Sci. 92: 89-102. A 3-yr field study on copper mine tailings in British Columbia determined the effects of fertilizer and biosolids on element concentrations in tailings and vegetation and on plant biomass. Biosolids applied at 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250 Mg ha-1 (dry weight) increased total carbon, iron, magnesium, nickel, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and zinc and available ammonium, iron, manganese, nitrate, phosphorus and zinc in tailings. With highest applications on silt loam tailings, total zinc (214 mg kg-1) exceeded Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment guidelines for agricultural soils. Total chromium and copper exceeded these guidelines but not due to biosolids, being high in controls (chromium 38, 8; copper 647, 1291 mg kg-1; silt loam and sandy sites, respectively). Plant tissue calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, nitrogen and zinc increased with increasing biosolids. Plant tissue calcium (20 g kg-1) and molybdenum (5 mg kg-1) exceeded National Research Council maximums for beef cattle. Total molybdenum in unamended silt loam (35 mg kg-1) and sandy tailings (18 mg kg-1) and vegetation on silt loam (112 mg kg-1) were high. Biosolids had variable effects on tailings molybdenum and decreased total plant tissue molybdenum. Fertilizer and control treatments had limited plant growth. Managed biosolids use in reclamation can ameliorate sites and facilitate vegetation establishment, with low environmental risk.
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