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Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2100;

Characterization and Potential Use of Biochar for the Remediation of Coal Mine Waste Containing Efflorescent Salts

GEAB-CIDTEC, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Popular del Cesar, UPC, Balneario Hurtado Vía Patillal, Valledupar 200001, Colombia
Grupo de Investigación Diagnostico y Control de la Contaminación (GDCON), Facultad de Ingeniería Universidad de Antioquia, UdeA, Calle 70 No 52-21, Medellín 050010, Colombia
Área de Recursos Energéticos y Sostenibilidad Minera, Instituto Geológico Minero de España, IGME, 28003 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degradation and Sustainable Management of Land)
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In open pit coal mining, soil and vegetation are removed prior to the start of mining activities, causing physical, chemical, and microbiological changes to the soil and landscape. The present work shows the results of an integrated study of the remediation of mine waste with a high level of salt contamination in areas of the Cesar Department (Colombia), employing biochar as an amendment. Physical-chemical properties including Munsell color, texture, pH, electrical conductivity, water-holding capacity, cation exchange capacity, metal content, organic carbon, sulfates, extractable P, and total nitrogen were characterized both in the soils contaminated with mine residues and the biochar sample. A high concentration of sulfates, calcium, iron, and aluminum and a significant presence of Na, followed by minor amounts of Mg, K, Cu, and Mn, were observed in efflorescent salts. X-ray diffraction indicated a high presence of quartz and gypsum and the absence of pyrite and Schwertmannite in the efflorescent salt, while showing broad peaks belonging to graphene sheets in the biochar sample. Soil remediation was evaluated in Petri dish seed germination bioassays using Brachiaria decumbens. Biochar was shown to be effective in the improvement of pH, and positively influenced the germination percentage and root length of Brachiaria grass seeds. View Full-Text
Keywords: coal mine waste; amendments; efflorescent salts; biochar; germination bioassay coal mine waste; amendments; efflorescent salts; biochar; germination bioassay

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Muegue, L.C.D.; González, J.C.A.; Mesa, G.P. Characterization and Potential Use of Biochar for the Remediation of Coal Mine Waste Containing Efflorescent Salts. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2100.

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