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Selected Case Studies

Combination of basaltic quarry fines with organic process residues for the development of novel growing media

(MA/1/3/003)

This project aims to match fines arising from basaltic aggregate production to specific organic residue streams (including domestic waste and green waste that has already been composted), and to generate growth media that can be used in a range of applications. Initially the project focuses on horticulture in the short term whilst preparing for longer term application to land restoration (including quarry landscape creation), sylviculture and agricultural production.

Quarry fines represent an important nutrient source for the growth of plants, with the exception of nitrogen. By combining fines with sources of nitrogen, in this case organic waste material (compost), a well-balanced nutrient source for plant growth is created. Once blended, the unique properties of both materials could provide nutrients to support vegetation in a variety of applications such as horticulture and land restoration.

Blending of rock fines and composts has been undertaken following characterisation of the materials, in preparation for growth trials. Plants, grass, and lysimeter trials were set up to assess and monitor the performance of various blends. Based on the results of these trials, an experimental plot will be designed and installed as a landscape restoration trial for an operating quarry.

Growth Trials Pot Trials
Plate 1. Growth Trials Plate 2. Pot trials with different blends

Downloadable MIST 1 Report

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Project Partners

Mineral Solutions Ltd, Tarmac plc, University of Newcastle, Harper Adams University College, Soil Environment Services Limited, Alternative Waste Solutions Limited, Glen Kemp Ltd.

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