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Review article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Progresses in restoration of post-mining landscape in Africa

Festin, Emma Sandell; Tigabu, Mulualem; Chileshe, Mutale N.; Syampungani, Stephen; Oden, Per Christer


Mining alters the natural landscape and discharges large volumes of wastes that pose serious pollution hazards to the environment, to human health and to agriculture. As a result, the recent 2decades have witnessed a global surge in research on post-mining landscape restoration, yielding a suite of techniques including physical, chemical, biological (also known as phytoremediation) and combinations. Despite the long history of mining in Africa, no systematic review has summarized advances in restoration research and practices after mining disturbance. Thus, the aim of this review was to document the state-of-knowledge and identify gaps in restoration of post-mining landscape in Africa through literature review. We found that: (1) there has been substantial progress in identifying species suitable for phytoremediation; (2) few studies evaluated the feasibility of organic amendments to promote autochthonous colonization of mine wastelands or growth of planted species; and (3) restoration of limestone quarries in Kenya, sand mining tailings in South Africa, and gold mine wasteland in Ghana are successful cases of large-scale post-mining restoration practices in Africa. However, the pace of post-mining landscape restoration research and practice in Africa is sluggish compared to other parts of the global south. We recommend: (1) mainstreaming the restoration of mine wastelands in national research strategies and increased development planning to make the mining sector Green; (2) inventory of the number, area, and current status of abandoned mine lands; (3) expanding the pool of candidate species for phytostabilization; (4) further evaluating the phytostabilization potential of organic amendments, e.g., biochar; (5) assessing the impacts of mining on regional biodiversity.


Phytoremediation; Phytostabilization; Reclamation; Remediation; Tailing dams

Published in

Journal of Forestry Research
2019, Volume: 30, number: 2, pages: 381-396