Metal content and environmental risk assessment around high-altitude mine sites

Journal ar
Environmental Earth Sciences
  • Volumen: 69
  • Número: 1
  • Fecha: 01 January 2013
  • Páginas: 141-149
  • ISSN: 18666280 18666299
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1007/s12665-012-1942-2
  • Document Type: Article
Gold mining activities in Apolobamba area, northwest of La Paz, Bolivia have created serious environmental concern and great risk to human health. The current methods used to extract gold are too primitive resulting in metal contamination of soil and water. The objectives of this study were to: (1) determine the degree of metal pollution, and (2) assess the risk to human health and environment in the Apolobamba area. Soil, water, sediment samples, and mine spills were collected and analyzed. Metals including Pb, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Hg concentrations were higher in surface soils than in subsurface soils indicating active atmospheric deposition of metals. Sediment samples had elevated levels of metals probably from mine spills discharged into the Sunchulli River. Surface soils in the Sunchulli community show the highest levels of Pb and Hg in all soil samples and may pose a risk to the health of the human population and environment. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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