Farming for gold: Using plant crops to remediate soil, remove contaminants, harvest gold, and keep ex-miners employed (UPDATED)

I love stories like this one at the Christian Science Monitor about Chris Anderson, a New Zealand scientist using crops to clean up contaminated mines. (Thanks Z+Partners for the link.)

In one fell swoop, he has come up with a process to improve the environment (both by having plants around and by having the plants decontaminate the soil), make money (enough to pay for the process AND make a profit), and also keep small artisan miners in business, although now they are watching over crops instead of pouring chemicals into the old mines.

UPDATE: Closer to home, Matt brought my attention to a successful joint effort between Teck-Cominco, Western Bioresources Consulting, and Celgar Pulp Mill. Thanks Matt!

These are great examples of triple-bottom-line thinking.

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    Teck-Cominco’s Trail smelter uses a multi-staged reclamation process involving bacterial vats and specific species of vegetation to clean water leaching from waste piles (particularly for arsenic). They, too, harvest the plants for further refinement.

    This refers to an earlier revision of the process:

    A buddy of mine was heavily involved in an implementation last summer… I will see what other linkage I can dredge up.


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