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Thread: Tar sands land reclamation

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    Default Tar sands land reclamation

    Interesting and thorough article:

    Reclaiming Alberta's oil sands mines | EARTH Magazine
    “The first step was to emplace a thick layer of overburden on the mine’s surface, says Ron Lewko, Syncrude’s team leader for environmental research. In this region, the overburden is composed of clay, sand and water that are naturally high in sodium sulfate, a salt. Salty soils are normally not good for plants.

    And yet, boreal forests were growing on this overburden before mining operations began. They grow just fine as long as the saline soil is out of the reach of the plants, at least 50 centimeters to a meter beneath the surface, says Ellen Macdonald, a professor in forest ecology and plant diversity at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. “The systems are resilient,” she says. “You just need to boost them above that saline layer.”

    Furthermore, Lewko says, the clay in the overburden slows water penetration, which slows the release of salts from the clay into vegetation. “Vegetation can grow fairly successfully because the salt release from the clay overburden is slow, and the precipitation dilutes ...”

    To spice it up a bit. And note the land comparison

    Corbella: Suzuki told me to 'F-off', but his hypocrisy gives the finger to his message
    Licia Corbella


    “Similarly, the verbal attacks Suzuki unleashes against Alberta’s oilsands are not a result of that industry doing anything wrong. Using amazing technology developed largely in Canada, men with great vision decided decades ago to find a way to extract oil from the sand that covers 142,200 square kilometres.

    Only a fraction of that land has been disturbed. Currently, the 530-square-kilometre piece of land mined is smaller than the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 570 square kilometres.

    All mined land must be reclaimed by law and will return to Alberta’s 381,000 square kilometres of boreal forest, a huge carbon sink. ...”

    Last edited by KC; 06-05-2018 at 09:07 AM.


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