Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 125, Issue 1–3, pp 111–122 | Cite as

Bioreclamation of coalmine overburden dumps—with special empasis on micronutrients and heavy metals accumulation in tree species

  • Subodh Kumar Maiti
Original Article


Major environmental impacts of opencast mining are degradation of landscape and aesthetics of the area by creating huge overburden dumps and deep voids at the mining sites. These overburden dumps are characterised by high rock fragment contents, low moisture retention capacity, higher bulk density, low nutrients, lower pH and elevated metal concentrations. Overburden dumps are reclaimed by tree species for stabilising as well as pollution control and overall improvement of the visual aesthetics. A field study was carried out in the old reclaimed coal mine overburden dumps at KD Heslong project, Central Coalfields, India to study the physico-chemical changes in the reclaimed overburden dumps and determines the magnitude of trace elements accumulation in the planted tree species. Total, bioavailable and acid extractable trace metals concentration in minesoils of overburden dump and topsoil in the mining areas was compared with undisturbed soil. The study showed that tree plantation improves the moisture contents, bulk density, pH and overall nutrient contents of minesoils. The study revealed that lower pH in the minesoils increases the bioavailabity of metals but concentration were found within toxic limits. However, ratio between total and bioavailable metals was found lower in overburden dumps than topsoil due to low pH and lack of organic matter. Out of six tree species studied, Bambusa shows highest accumulation of Fe and Cr. Bioaccumulation coefficient for Cr and Zn was found 74 times in Bambusa and 83 times in Dalbergia sissoo. The results of the study underscore the need for close monitoring of trace elements in reclaimed overburden dumps. Tree species like Dalbergia sissoo, Eucalyptus, Cassia seamea, Acaccia mangium and Peltaphorum were found to be the best species for bioreclamation of overburden dumps.


Coalmine overburden dumps Tree Bioreclamation Metals Bioaccumulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Mining EnvironmentIndian School of MinesDhanbadIndia

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