Select Chemical and Physical Properties of Australian Minesoils.
Robert A. Hull1, Jessica Journey1, Ryan Noble2, Melanie A. Stewart1, and John Ammons1. (1) University of Tennessee, Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, 2506 E.J. Chapman Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996-4531, (2) CSIRO, CSIRO Exploration and Mining/CRC LEME, PO Box 1130, Bentley, Western Australi 6102, AUSTRALIA
Significant advances in mining technology and new government regulations have resulted in more efficient and productive reclamation practices. Physical and chemical properties of reclaimed minesoils are varied and usually reflective of anthropogenic disturbance rather than natural soil forming processes. As a result, reclamation attempts can prove ineffective. The objectives of this study are to investigate and describe the physical and chemical properties of soils collected from four Australian mines. The sites represent four types of mines located in Victoria and Western Australia which mine for titanium/zirconium, gold, bauxite, and brown coal. In order to properly characterize the sites, two profiles were selected from each mine. One profile was used to describe the soil properties of a recently deposited minesoil, while the other will be used to describe soils deposited within the past 5-15 years. Laboratory analyses were performed on samples taken from the horizons of each profile to determine particle size, cation exchange capacity (CEC), base saturation, pH, and KCl extractable aluminum. Results indicate that older profiles show signs of profile development and increased CEC in the A horizon. Samples taken from recently deposited soils exhibit significant variations in pH and low CEC values in the uppermost horizons.