Advertisement

The potentials of biological geotextiles in erosion and sediment control during gold mine reclamation in Ghana

  • Paul Kofi NsiahEmail author
  • Wolfgang Schaaf
Soils, Sec 5 • Soil and Landscape Ecology • Research Article
  • 61 Downloads

Abstract

Purpose

Soil erosion is a significant environmental impact of surface mining affecting the initial establishment of vegetation, especially on steep slopes, during reclamation. Consequently, we investigated the potentials of biological geotextiles constructed from two local plants, Pennisetum purpureum and Broussonetia papyrifera, in reducing erosion and sedimentation during reclamation at Newmont Ghana Gold Limited.

Materials and methods

Six experimental plots were constructed on a 33% slope waste rock, covered with a 70-cm layer of stockpiled subsoil. Concrete gutters, lined with silt fence, were installed at the lower end of each plot to collect eroded sediment. The two kinds of biological geotextiles, “York” mat and elephant grass mat, were used with bare ground as control in a randomized block design with two replicates each. Data on sediment yield was collected after each substantial rainfall. The performance of each geotextile in reducing soil loss was expressed as a percentage from the mean total sediment yield.

Results and discussion

With total precipitation of 306 mm in the period April 18, to July 4, 2016, both elephant grass mat and York mat significantly (p < 0.05) reduced soil loss by 56.6% and 97.3%, respectively, compared to the control, indicating both mats were effective in erosion and sediment control. The relatively high performance of York mat was mainly attributed to its more fibers that provided less surface cover (70%) as well as flexibility of the fibers which enabled the mat to absorb more water during rainfall thus increasing its weight. This increase in weight promoted better drapability, with better erosion and sediment control. Gully formations at the site were primarily due to high concentrated runoff flows from the top of reclaiming benches, with time delays between completion of earthworks, geotextile placement, and seeding of plants as predisposing factors.

Conclusions

The York mat (YM) and the elephant grass mat (EM) individually acted as cover and protected the highly erodible graded mine slope against the erosive forces of tropical rain and runoff until vegetation establishment. Even so, planning and coordinating the reclamation program such that all earthworks are completed at the end of the dry season to enable geotextile installation and plant seeding at the onset of rains, together with installation of temporary slope drains in preventing gully formations from concentrated runoff flows, are considered to contribute significantly to the general reclamation success at Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) and similar mine sites.

Keywords

Biological geotextiles Erosion and sediment control Mine reclamation Revegetation Slope stabilization Surface mining 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for granting access in conducting the field experimentation at their mine site.

Funding information

Thanks to the German Academic Exchange Service and the Government of Ghana Scholarship Secretariat for co-funding this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. ASAE (1992) Soil and water engineering terminology. ASAE Standard S526. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph.  https://doi.org/10.17226/2022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhattacharyya R, Davies K, Fullen MA, Booth CA (2008) Effects of palm-mat geotextiles on the conservation of loamy sand soils in east Shropshire, UK. Adv Geoecol 39:527–538Google Scholar
  3. Bhattacharyya R, Booth CA, Fullen MA (2011a) Using palm-mat geotextiles on an arable soil for water erosion control in the UK. Earth Surf Process Landf 36:933–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhattacharyya R, Fullen MA, Booth CA, Kertesz A et al (2011b) Effectiveness of biological geotextiles for soil and water conservation in different agro-environments. Land Degrad Dev 22:495504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhattacharyya R, Booth CA, Davies K, Fullen MA (2009) Utilizing palm-leaf geotextile mats to conserve loamy sand soil in the United Kingdom. Agric Ecosyst Environ 130:50–58.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2008.11.015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhattacharyya R, Fullen MA, Davies K, Booth CA (2010a) Use of palm-mat geotextiles for rainsplash erosion control. Geomorphology 119:52–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhattacharyya R, Smets T, Fullen MA, Poesen J, Booth CA (2010b) Effectiveness of geotextiles in reducing runoff and soil loss: a synthesis. Catena 31:184–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bouyoucos GJ (1931) The hydrometer as a new method for the mechanical analysis of soils. Soil Sci 23:34–352Google Scholar
  9. Brady NC, Weil R (2008) The nature and properties of soils, 14th edn. Prentice Hall. Pearson Education Limited, 1046 pp.  https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics7040105
  10. Chen SC, Chang KT, Wang SH, Lin JY (2011) The efficiency of artificial materials used for erosion control on steep slopes. Earth Sci Environ 62:197–206. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-010-0514-6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conservation International (2000) Lightening the lode: a guide to responsible large-scale mining. http://www.conservation.org/sites/celb/Documents/lode.pdf
  12. Davies K, Booth CA, Fullen MA (2006) A pilot project on the potential contribution of palm-mat geotextiles to soil conservation. Earth Surf Process Landf 31:561–569.  https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.1349 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. EIA Guide-book (2010) Overview of mining and its impacts; guidebook for evaluating mining project EIAs. https://www.elaw.org/files/mining-eia-guidebook/Chapter1.pdf
  14. Environment Australia (2002) Overview of best practice environmental management in mining. http://www.ret.gov.au/resources/Documents/LPSDP/BPEMOverview.pdf
  15. Fischer A, Fischer H (2006) Restoration of forests. In: van Andel J, Aronson J (eds) Restoration ecology. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, pp 124–140.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470910601035160 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. GEAR (1999) Ghana Environmental Assessment Regulation (1999) Legislative Instrument 1652; Republic of GhanaGoogle Scholar
  17. Ghana Chamber of Mines (2014) Performance of the mining industry in 2013: Accra, Ghana, Ghana Chamber of Mines, 10 pGoogle Scholar
  18. Ghosh SK, Bhattacharyya R, Sanyal T (2016) Designing and engineering of jute geotextile (JGT) for river bank protection and its subsequent implementation in River Phulahar. J Nat Fibers 13:192–203.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15440478.2015.1004393 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hann MJ, Morgan RPC (2006) Evaluating erosion control measures for bio-restoration between the time of soil reinstatement and vegetation establishment. Earth Surf Process Landf 31:589–597.  https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.1353 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jakab G, Kertész A, Madarász B, Szabó S, Szalai Z, Tóth A (2012) Biological geotextiles against soil degradation under sub-humid climate—a case study. Carpathian J Earth Env 7(2):125–134Google Scholar
  21. Kalibova J, Jacka L, Petru J (2016) The effectiveness of jute and coir blankets for erosion control in different field and laboratory conditions. Solid Earth 7:469–479.  https://doi.org/10.5194/se-7-469-2016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MINEO Consortium (2000) Review of potential environmental and social impact of mining. http://www2.brgm.fr/mineo/UserNeed/IMPACTS.pdf
  23. Motsara MR, Roy RN (2008) Guide to laboratory establishment for plant and soil nutrient analysis. FAO-UNO, 19th ED, Rome-Italy, pp 38–40Google Scholar
  24. NGGL (2015) Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, Reclamation and Closure Plan Ahafo South Project, 78 pp.  https://doi.org/10.17226/21679
  25. NRCS (2006) Natural Resources Conservation Service; Conservation Practice Standard Land Reclamation, currently mined land (ac.) code 544 https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb1253606.doc
  26. Nsiah PK (2008) Promoting sustainable relationship between mining communities and mining industries; the role of environmental impact assessment. MSc. Dissertation, Dept. of Material Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-GhanaGoogle Scholar
  27. Nsiah PK (2012) The potentials of Pennisetum purpureum as a biological geotextile and topsoil application to promote biodiversity in quarry site reclamation at Yongwa, Quarry Life Award Project; http://www.quarrylifeaward.com.gh/sites/default/files/media/gh-30_nsiah.pdf. Accessed 20 June 2017
  28. Pillai MS (1994) Protection of the side slopes of Kabini Canal. In Proceeding of the 5th International Conference on Geotextiles, Geomembranes and Related Products, Rao GV, Balan K (eds). Singapore, 5–9 September; 14–17Google Scholar
  29. Rickson RJ (2003) Geotextiles in land reclamation: applications for erosion control and vegetation establishment. Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference of the International Affiliation of Land Reclamationists Runcorn/United Kingdom/13–16 May 2003. A.A. Balkema Publishers, pp 304–314Google Scholar
  30. Rickson RJ (2006) Controlling sediment at source: an evaluation of erosion control geotextiles. Earth Surf Process Landf 31:550–560.  https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.1368 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smets T, Bhattacharyya R, Poesen J et al (2011) Evaluation of biological geotextiles for reducing runoff and soil loss under various environmental conditions using laboratory and field plot data. Land Degrad Dev 22:480–494.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.1095 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smets T, Booth CA, Fullen MA, Poesen J (2007) Effectiveness of palm and simulated geotextiles in reducing run-off and inter-rill erosion on medium and steep slopes. Soil Use Manag 23:306–316.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2007.00098.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Smets T, Fullen MA, Knapen A, Langhans C, Poesen J (2009) Concentrated flow erosion rates reduced through biological geotextiles. Earth Surf Process Landf 34:493–502.  https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.1729 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sutherland RA (1998) Rolled erosion control systems for hill-slope surface protection: a critical review, synthesis and analysis of available data I Background and formative years. Land Degrad Dev 9:465–486.  https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-145X(199811/12)9:6<465::AID-LDR311>3.0.CO;2-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sutherland RA, Ziegler AD (1995) Geotextile effectiveness in reducing inter-rill runoff and sediment flux. In: International erosion control association proceedings of conference XXVI, Atlanta, USA, pp 359–370Google Scholar
  36. Sutherland RA, Ziegler AD (2007) Effectiveness of coir-based rolled erosion control systems in reducing sediment transport from hill-slopes. Appl Geogr 27:150–164.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2007.07.011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thompson AM (2001) Shear stress partitioning for vegetation and erosion control blankets, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Bio-systems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (UMI Number: 3032015).  https://doi.org/10.1002/0471142301.ns0702s00
  38. UNEP (2000) Mining and sustainable development II challenges and perspectives. A publication of the United Nations Environment Programme Division of Technology, Industry and Economics; ISSN 0378-9993 Industry and Environment: Volume 23 Special Issue 2000Google Scholar
  39. UNGA (2012) The future we want; resolution adopted by the United Nation General Assembly. A/RES/66/288 http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/66/288&Lang=E
  40. Wischmeier WH, Smith DD (1978) Predicting rainfall erosion losses: a guide to conservation planning. Agriculture Handbook No. 537. USDA/Science and Education Administration, US. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, DC. 58 ppGoogle Scholar
  41. Wright MA (2002) Practical guide to reclamation in Utah; Utah oil, gas and mining. http://www.ecorestoration.montana.edu/mineland/guide/construction/Reclamation_Manual.pdf

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil Protection and RecultivationBrandenburg University of TechnologyCottbus-SenftenbergGermany

Personalised recommendations