Mine waste is primarily comprised of broken or ground rock with little organic matter or nutrients.
LAM environmental research staff have studied the use of waste products to improve vegetation growth following the reclamation of taconite tailings. Researchers have studied various types of compost, residue from paper mills, treated solids from wastewater treatment plants (biosolids), and dredge material from Lake Superior.
Results from these studies have helped develop new reclamation procedures that have been successfully applied to reclaim coarse taconite tailings.
Mitigation techniques prevent mine drainage problems and provide treatment methods for water impacted by mining operations.
Methods to prevent mine drainage problems include
- underwater disposal of waste rock and tailings
- creating wetlands over tailings
- co-disposal of tailings and waste rock
- adding alkaline materials to mine waste
- coating reactive surfaces to prevent reaction (microencapsulation)
Please see the Reclamation Sections' list of publications (PDF, 249 kb) for more information on the research we have done.