Remineralization of agricultural soils using residues from the amethyst and agate extracting industry, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Brazil is the world’s fourth largest consumer of fertilizers, which is only behind consumers such as China, India and the USA. Therefore, it is crucial to coordinate the production and consumption of this type of product, through appropriate policies, industrial and technological development of mineral exploration and beneficiation of mining activity in the country. With this in mind, it becomes essential to assess the viability of using alternative sources of nutrients, as well as using the waste from mining and extracting industries of precious gems, as remineralizers. Thus, it is possible to reach improvements in soil fertility by transforming mining waste into raw material for agriculture. The plateau region of Rio Grande do Sul state (“Planalto Médio do Rio Grande do Sul”), is known for amethyst and agate extraction, producing in its mines about 30,000 tons of residual basalt per month. It is under this scenario that the project “Remineralization of agricultural soils using residues from the extracting industry of precious gems” has been implemented. This project involves different universities, technological institutes, and also the miners’ cooperatives (Passo Fundo University, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul Technology Center for Stones, Gems and Jewelry, and Miners’ Cooperative of the Medium Upper Uruguai LTDA, associated to the Productive Arrangement of Gems and Jewels). This study aims to show preliminary results of the Project with concern to the viability of using by-products from precious stone mining industries.