discovery of new knowledge and technologies relating to ecological engineering


This group develops new technologies to rehabilitate metal mine tailings and other waste domains to improve economic and ecological sustainability; produce cost-effective remediation of contaminated land; create new knowledge on the biogeochemistry of engineered tailings-soil formation, ecophysiology of native plants and ecological linkages in soil-plant systems.

Projects within this Group

  • In situ engineering red mud into functional soil - A new technology for cost-effective rehabilitation of red mud domains
  • Evaluation of key attributes of nutrient cycling in revegetated waste rock landform of Ranger uranium mine
  • Eco-engineering soil from mine tailings for native plant rehabilitation
KM Wet Tailings
Tailing Weathering Aggregation
Tailings Weathering Aggregation

Sustainable rehabilitation of tailings at metal mine sites is severely constrained by soil resource deficiency. Building on our recent findings of critical processes in soil formation from Cu/Pb-Zn tailings, we aim to develop an integrated technology through eco-engineering the mineralogy and organic constituents of tailings to initiate and accelerate soil formation by using magnetite tailings as a template.

Native Pioneer Plants in eco engineered Fe-ore

The technology will be underpinned by research to mediate and stimulate key biogeochemical and rhizosphere processes in the tailing-soil towards a functional 'technosol'. We aim to apply this technology at metal mines in Australia, to offset the soil required for rehabilitating tailings landforms with native plant communities. Grant type: ARC Linkage Projects

  • Building the framework for meeting closure criteria in waste rock dump design and performance
  • Developing options and strategies for red mud bioremediation

Related available student projects

  • Bio-mineral-organo complexation models in tailings
  • Molecular microbial mechanisms in mineral bioweathering and secondary mineral formation
  • Mechanisms of water-stable aggregate formation in red mud
  • Geo-rhizosphere biology in native/metallophyte species in mineralized soil and metal mine tailings
  • Biogenic mineral forms and speciation in metal mine tailings
  • Rhizosphere adaptation to tailing technosols in native plant species
  • Biogenic factors in duricrust formation: from nature to tailings surface
  • Bio-geo-mineral cross-linking mechanisms and hardpan formation in tailings
  • Relationship between soil microbial community structure and trajectory of plant species diversity in revegetated mined land


Group Leader

Professor Longbin Huang


HDR Students


metal mine tailings, bauxite residue (red mud), mineral bioweathering, geo-microbial ecology, environmental microbial ecology, microspectroscopy, bio-mineral-organo interactions, geo-rhizosphere biology, engineered pedogenesis, technosols, hydrogeochemistry, bio-geopolymerization, hardpan, rhizosphere of metallophytes, soil-plant systems