Title: Assessment of restored/reclaimed sites in Iceland to determine best suited and cost-effective cover system(s) for reclaiming artisanal and small scale mining sites in Malawi

Author(s): Emmanuel Mwathunga
Final project
Year of publication:


Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) presents many environmental challenges, one of the greater being the abandonment of mine pits after the completion of mining activities. The lack of relevant and cost-effective techniques in reclaiming these sites adds to the challenge, as does improper law and regulation enforcement. This study was conducted to assess different land cover systems/techniques used in restoring/reclaiming degraded sites in Iceland to determine suitable and cost-effective cover system(s) to be tailored and used in reclaiming different improperly closed or abandoned ASM sites in Malawi. The study revealed notable differences in how mine sites and general degraded sites are restored/reclaimed. While refilling with materials to cover the excavations and revegetating were the major activities in reclaiming the mine sites, eroded sites on the other hand focussed much on revegetation. A total of five techniques were observed, four of which may be applicable in reclaiming ASM sites in Malawi. However, due to the differences between the type of materials and vegetation used in restoring/reclaiming the studied sites and those that may be found in Malawi, plus the heavy use of machinery, further assessment needs to be done to properly tailor these conditions to those of ASM in Malawi.

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