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2012 (Vol. 4, Issue: 04)
Article Information:

Geochemical Assessment of the Impact of Mine Tailings Reclamation on the Quality of Soils at AngloGold Concession, Obuasi, Ghana

Enoch Boateng, G.N.N. Dowuona, P.M. Nude, G. Foli, P. Gyekye and H.M. Jafaru
Corresponding Author:  G.N.N. Dowuona 

Key words:  Contamination factor, geo-accumulation index, heavy metals, mine tailings, mined soils, pollution load index,
Vol. 4 , (04): 466-474
Submitted Accepted Published
February 13, 2012 March 16, 2012 April 15, 2012
Abstract:

This study assessed the geochemical impact of mine tailings reclamation on the quality of soils from the AngloGold Concession, Obuasi, Ghana. Soil samples from mine tailings reclamation sites were evaluated for the concentrations of plant nutrients and trace metals. Contaminations of trace metals, using geochemical pollution indices were used to assess possible effects on agriculture and livelihoods. The average pH ranges from 7.6 to 8.4 at the ex-tailing sites whiles the control site is 6.0. Organic carbon and nitrogen levels at the extailings site are low due to topsoil loss. Average available P and K levels were low or very low; i.e., <20 and <40 mg/kg, respectively at both ex-tailing and control sites. Average EC values as well as individual values of all the soils were less than 2 dS/m, while average ESP and individual soil values were less than 15%, indicating that the soils are non saline. Average ECEC levels, contributed by Ca and Mg, are medium at the ex-tailing sites but low at the control sites. The concentrations of arsenic (As), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) were compared to their respective background concentrations to calculate their contamination factors and geo-accumulation indices at all the examined areas. Average concentration values for As are consistently high; presenting the highest value of 426.67 mg/kg at Area 3 and the least of 72.03 mg/kg at the control site, above the Netherlands soil/sediment intervention guideline value of 55 mg/kg for remediation. Furthermore, estimates from the geochemical evaluations indicated that As contamination was very high and therefore poses a threat to agricultural land use as well as general environmental quality.
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  Cite this Reference:
Enoch Boateng, G.N.N. Dowuona, P.M. Nude, G. Foli, P. Gyekye and H.M. Jafaru, 2012. Geochemical Assessment of the Impact of Mine Tailings Reclamation on the Quality of Soils at AngloGold Concession, Obuasi, Ghana.  Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences, 4(04): 466-474.
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ISSN (Online):  2041-0492
ISSN (Print):   2041-0484
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