A new hazard assessment workflow to assess soil contamination from large and artisanal scale gold mining

Thiombane, M., De Vivo, B., Niane, B., Watts, M.J., Marriott, A.L. and Di Bonito, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-8590-0267, 2023. A new hazard assessment workflow to assess soil contamination from large and artisanal scale gold mining. Environmental Geochemistry and Health. ISSN 0269-4042

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Gold mining activities are undertaken both at large and artisanal scale, often resulting in serious ‘collateral’ environmental issues, including environmental pollution and hazard to human and ecosystem health. Furthermore, some of these activities are poorly regulated, which can produce long-lasting damage to the environment and local livelihoods. The aim of this study was to identify a new workflow model to discriminate anthropogenic versus geogenic enrichment in soils of gold mining regions. The Kedougou region (Senegal, West Africa) was used as a case study. Ninety-four soil samples (76 topsoils and 18 bottom soils) were collected over an area of 6,742 km2 and analysed for 53 chemical elements. Robust spatial mapping, compositional and geostatistical models were employed to evaluate sources and elemental footprint associated with geology and mining activities. Multivariate approaches highlighted anomalies in arsenic (As) and mercury (Hg) distribution in several areas. However, further interpretation with enrichment factor (EFs) and index of geoaccumulation (IGeo) emphasised high contamination levels in areas approximately coinciding with the ones where artisanal and small scale mining (ASGM) activities occur, and robust compositional contamination index (RCCI) isolated potentially harmful elements (PHE) contamination levels in very specific areas of the Kedougou mining region. The study underlined the importance of complementary approaches to identify anomalies and, more significantly, contamination by hazardous material. In particular, the analyses helped to identify discrete areas that would require to be surveyed in more detail to allow a comprehensive and thorough risk assessment, to investigate potential impacts to both human and ecosystem health.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Environmental Geochemistry and Health
Creators: Thiombane, M., De Vivo, B., Niane, B., Watts, M.J., Marriott, A.L. and Di Bonito, M.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 18 April 2023
ISSN: 0269-4042
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 21 Apr 2023 10:30
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 10:30
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/48798

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