Previous studies have shown that the application of soil amendments is efficient in reducing acidity and heavy metal bioavailability in mine soils. However, it remains a challenge for environmentalists to predict accurately and control economically the re-acidification in re-vegetated mine soils. In this study, net acid generation (NAG) test and bioassay technique were employed to assess the effectiveness of the amendments [including lime, N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) fertilizer, phosphate and river sediment] on re-acidification and heavy metal immobilization in an extremely acid (pH < 3) mine soil. Our results suggested that NAG test was a rapid and accurate approach to assess the effectiveness of the amendments on re-acidification potential of the mine soil. Interestingly, it was found that phosphate and river sediment played quite specific roles in preventing the re-acidification in the mine soil. In addition, the results also indicated that the addition of 25 t ha−1 lime combined with river sediment (30%) might be an economical method to successfully control the acidification and re-acidification in the extremely acid mine soil, allowing the re-establishment of the plants. Collectively, our results implied that the combined use of NAG test and bioassay assessment was effective in evaluating a reclamation strategy for extremely acidic mine soils.
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