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Environ Monit Assess. 2014 Jan;186(1):165-74. doi: 10.1007/s10661-013-3363-4. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

Heavy metal contamination in tailings and rocksamples from an abandoned goldminein Southwestern Nigeria.

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Department of Environmental Management and Toxicology, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.


Active and abandoned primary and secondary goldmines have been observed to be major sources of metals into the environment. This study assessed the level of metal concentrations in rock and tailing samples collected from the abandoned primary goldmine site at Iperindo. A total of five rock and ten tailing samples were collected for this study. The tailing samples were subjected to physicochemical analysis using standard methods. The samples were analyzed for metals using inductively coupled plasma/optical emission spectrometry technique. The results obtained indicated that tailings were acidic (pH 5.02), with electrical conductivity 133.4 μS/cm, cation exchange capacity 8.95 meq/100 g, available phosphorus was 4.74 mg/L, organic carbon 5.58 %, and organic matter 9.63 %. The trends for metal concentrations within the samples were in the order: Zn > Cu > Co > Pb > Cr > As > Cd for rock samples, Cu > Zn > Cr > Pb > As > Co > Cd in tailing samples. Cd, Pb, and Zn in the rock were above the Abundance of Elements in Average Crustal Rocks standards. Principal component analysis showed higher variations among samples in Iperindo. Cd, Pb, Cr, Co, Cu, As, and Zn were strongly loaded to principal component 1, with these metals significantly contributing to variations in 65.76 % of rock and 53.24 % of tailing. This study suggests that the metal concentration in tailings is a reflection of the metal composition of the rocks.

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