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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.108 n.3 Johannesburg Mar. 2008




Soil quality as a key success factors in sustainable rehabilitation of kimberlite mine waste



P.W. van DeventerI; A.A. BloemII; J.M. HattinghIII

ISchool of Environmental Sciences and Development, North West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa and Fraser Alexander Tailings
IIDepartment of Agriculture, South Africa
IIICaltech, South Africa




'Soil quality is the capacity of a soil to function, within ecosystem and land use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental quality, and promote plant, animal and human health'.
In the long-term, vegetative rehabilitation of mining wastes aims at, as far as possible, the proper ecological integration of the reclaimed area into the surrounding landscape, which is sustainable and requires minimal maintenance. A certain succession pattern is therefore needed. Recent ecological concepts recognize the role of the substrate's quality and nutrients in affecting the rates and directions of succession patterns. Although pedogenesis and eventually soil quality in mine waste are not well known, monitoring of soil quality parameters in kimberlite mine tailings reveal a remarkable establishment and or improvement of specific soil quality indicators. During the same time the vegetative cover's total functionality as well as reproductive ability improved.
Functions of soil, and thus soil quality, can be assessed at the field, farm, ecosystem, pedosphere, and global scale. It is recognized, however, that management of soil becomes increasingly difficult at larger scales, but for demarcated mine waste sites it is possible to ameliorate and manage and assess soil functions and quality. Therefore the significance of the study is the following: soil functions and quality become inseparable from the idea of system sustainability, and are considered as key indicators of ecosystem sustainability on rehabilitated mine tailings material.



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Paper received Feb. 2007
Revised paper received Oct. 2007

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