Behnaz is an M.Sc. student in environmental science at Thompson Rivers University, specializing in mine reclamation practices under the supervision of Dr. Lauchlan Fraser. With a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Iran, Behnaz joined Dr. Fraser’s lab to conduct research on the reclamation of closed tailings storage facilities (TSFs) at New Afton Mine near Kamloops, in BC’s South Central Region. Her research focuses on determining appropriate soil cover depths and amendments to restore sustainable ecosystems in TSFs. Presentations at symposiums and conferences allow Behnaz to share her findings and raise awareness of the project. With a passion for effective mine closure and reclamation, Behnaz aspires to make positive impacts on local communities as she continues her career in this field.
Project: Topsoil-Till Cover Depth and Amendments: Influence on Ecosystem Reclamation in Closed Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs)
A current evolving area of study is the reclamation of TSFs through utilizing sustainable technologies; significant research that will be required to achieve post-mining end land use capabilities. Mine tailings are of inferior quality to natural soil due to a lack of nutrients and potential contamination by heavy metals. The accumulation of mine tailings and wastes on the land surface leads to the alteration of soil biogeochemistry, which includes required factors for vegetation growth. One practical approach in mine reclamation is to cover tailings with subsoil and topsoil and enrich the soil with amendments. With only a limited supply of topsoil and till materials, each mine is faced with determining the appropriate cover depths to promote vegetation and ecosystem development. This research consisted of a greenhouse and field experiment to investigate the impact of zeolite, leonardite, and fortified compost within different soil cover depths on ecosystem reclamation of TSFs.