Co-utilization of Rockdust, Mineral Fines and Compost

Co-utilization of Rockdust, Mineral Fines and Compost

Working towards integrated resource recycling and use

Robin A.K. Szmidt & John Ferguson


For those who have seen the regeneration of poor soils into highly productive systems through the practice of soil remineralization the empirical evidence has been sufficient to convince many that there is something of great interest happening in soils treated with rock dusts and other mineral sources. The early history of soil remineralization in Scotland was the result of the vision and commitment of Cameron and Moira Thomson of the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration (SEER) Centre just outside Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire. These remarkable people championed the issue to the point where it is gradually gaining main stream interest. This reflects growing interest in the protection of soils as a fundamental resource of any sustainable society, the clear relationship between soils and the wider environment and the relationship between soils, the foods they grow and human health; of fundamental importance as Scotland increasingly focuses on the challenges of sustainable development.

Today, the major attention in policy areas as diverse as climate change, resource management and the many links between human diet and health are focusing attention on new ways of protecting our environment and human welfare. Soil remineralization may have the potential to contribute to reducing carbon in our atmosphere by increasing the potential to lock more carbon into soils and biomass. By co-utilising rock dusts with composted organic wastes to create alternative soil fertility systems we could maximise the value-added market potential for these composts in areas of large scale usage such as agriculture, thus avoiding the environmental and social impacts of landfilling these wastes. Their use could potentially reduce diffuse pollution from agricultural systems, particularly in sensitive areas and they may also create a valuable edge to the growing organics production sector as the connection between the health of our soils and the nutritional value of the foods they produce becomes better understood.

What is clear is that the interactions within soils between plant root systems, the microbial microflora, organic matter and minerals are complex. In order to better evaluate and validate the various claims made on behalf of soil remineralization a focused programme of research is necessary. This report pulls together our current knowledge on soil remineralization from a growing body of work across the globe and sets out a number of areas where research would assist in validating the benefits of soil remineralization and guiding future environmental, agricultural and health policy. We hope it will be of use to practitioners of various disciplines in contributing to a safer and healthier world.

John Ferguson
SEPA Waste and Resource Strategy Unit
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1 Reply to "Co-utilization of Rockdust, Mineral Fines and Compost"

  • Satish Kumar kanumuri
    June 27, 2020 (4:20 pm)

    Good information…people are coming back from communist mindsets in farming. Respect nature if you want that feeling in your heart which is more than money. Agricultures perception is like who harvested the highest….and it got all of us into eating food which looks like food leading a way to health insurance and further. Let’s think democratically when it comes to Agriculture.How many of us know that Agriculture is the basis to all spirituality..if one can understand sustainability understanding spirituality is easy and satisfying. The fiber that runs through both is commonly known as common sense. The observational farmer with his trained knowledge and his residual wisdom…gets him eligibility to understand spiritual order and essential dignity. The end of spiritual progress is to know your place in eternal existence. Thats from where you have come and thats the place you need to go. The journey is some what like sustainable agriculture. Know what best you can do to plants and animals at your farm and you will know what best you can do with yourself….these are my thoughts. I am 48yrs and these days I am desperate to live as a farmer. But I am stuck in the grind of city apologies if I have said anything offensive….?

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