BSc (hons) Project title The interaction between plant growth, platinum mine tailings and sodic soil
(Supervisors: Prof Mary Scholes, Prof J-P Franzidis) Graduated: 2013
This honours project investigated the amelioration of sodic soils by adding calcium-rich platinum tailings to sodic soil and non-sodic soil, in order to improve the Ca:Mg:Na ratios in the soils, thereby improving the nutrient status of the soils and facilitating plant growth. Platinum mine tailings have been found to have a high percentage of both calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) ions, as well as low levels of heavy metals. Sodic soils result in deflocculation, making them impermeable to water and unsuitable for plant growth. The purpose of this research was to investigate the nutrient status of sodic soils and non-sodic soils, and the rate of growth of radish, tomato and spinach plants. Results indicated that there is an increase in mass and height of spinach seedlings growing in sodic soil with tailings, when compared with the other treatments and plant species.