Mine Tailings: Phytostabilization and Phytoremediation

Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) requested, via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Border 2012 Program, technical as well as outreach support in Nacozari de Garcia, Mexico to: 1) prevent future contamination of the environment and 2) provide education and outreach to reduce the risks associated with exposure to mine tailing dust.  As a result of these recommendations, the University of Sonora (UNISON) and The University of Arizona’s (UA) Dean Carter Binational Center were contacted to contribute their expertise that would service as a basis for this project.  The objectives of the project are:


  • To determine optimal conditions for the establishment of a native plant vegetative cap on the mine tailings to reduce the wind dispersion into the community.
  • To initiate an environmental outreach program for the local community to help reduce human exposure risks.
  • To identify sources of contamination adjacent to the mine tailing site.

This group collaborated with Southern Copper - Minera Mexico, Commission of Ecology and Sustainable
Development for the State of Sonora, Municipality of Nacozari de Garcia, Border Environmental Cooperation Commission, and SEMARNAT to strengthen the links between governmental agencies, universities representatives and local stakeholders. 

To learn more about the components of the project, please click on the icons below:









Project Contacts:

Dr. Raina Maier

The University of Arizona

Principal Investigator - U.S.


Dr. Diana Meza Figueroa

Universidad de Sonora

Principal Investigator - Mexico    


Emily Pimentel, M.S.


Project Officer


Margarita de la O, M.S.

Universidad de Sonora

Field Manager


Dr. Sergio Alan Moreno Zazueta
Universidad de Sonora
Site Preparation Coordinator

Dr. Mary Carrazco
Universidad de Sonora
Social Scientist - Community Survey

Denise Moreno Ramirez, M.S.

The University of Arizona

Community Coordinator


Narciso Navarro Gomez, B.A.

Universidad de Sonora

Community Coordinator