Developing Trees Tolerant to Degraded Mine Soils in an Underground Greenhouse

  • Cosmas Opoku-Ware
  • Paul ConradEmail author
  • Michael Kukay


This project is exploring the potential for developing trees tolerable to degraded un-reclaimed mine site soils and tailings as a solution to re-establishing long-term tree growth on those sites. The project incorporates growing tree seedlings in an underground greenhouse grown from seeds planted in the degraded mine soils in which they will eventually be planted. The outcome of the project is expected to lead to a successful solution for re-establishing tree growth in soils and tailings containing high metal concentrations with minimal post-planting human intervention. The research is being conducted in an underground greenhouse located 100 ft below the surface in the old Orphan Boy Mine Underground Mine Education Center (UMEC) located on Montana Tech’s campus in Butte, Montana.


Underground greenhouse Mine tailings Silver Bow Creek Native trees Seed germination 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Scott Rosenthal, Head of the Montana Tech Mining Engineering Department, for granting permission to use the UMEC for the project and the practical underground mining class students and Larry Hoffman, their instructor, for developing the underground greenhouse.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Montana TechButteUSA

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