Econ. Environ. Geol. 2001; 34(3): 271-281

Published online June 30, 2001

© THE KOREAN SOCIETY OF ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY

The Characteristics of Heavy Metal Contamination in Tailings and Soils in the Vicinity of the Palbong Mine, Korea

Young Up Lee1*, Jae Il Chung1 and Young Ho Kwon2

1Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Chonju 561-756, Korea
2Department of Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Seonam University, Namwon 590-170, Korea

Correspondence to :

Young Up Lee

yulee@moak.chonbuk.ac.kr

Received: October 23, 2000; Accepted: June 15, 2001

Abstract

The characteristics of the heavy metal contamination in the soils affected by the tailings of the Palbong mine have been studied. The soils in the studied area consist mostly of loam by the particle size analysis, but a little of it, located near the stream, consist of loamy sand to sandy loam, finally to loam downward. The organic contents of soils are significantly low about 2 percent and the pH is in acidic ranging 6.0 ± 0.1. The samples of the parent rocks, the normal soils, the tailings and the channel deposits from the studied area were chemically analysed. From the result, the heavy metal concentration of the soils is a little low compared with that of the parent rocks, shows the hydrologic process of the surface and the groundwater. The contamination of the tailings from the ore mining are high in lead, copper and arsenic. In the channel deposits the concentrations of lead and copper are abnormally high but that of arsenic is uniquely low. And most of heavy metal contamination are decreased with the distance from the mine. It is caused by the properties of the surface and the ground water during the process of the heavy metal migration. The correlation-coefficient between sand and silt contents and the concentrations of Cd, Cu and Pb are significant but the amounts of As and Hg are increased with the clay contents. The dispersion of the heavy metals with the distance shows that the concentrations of them in the soils sampled at distance of 100 m to 200 m along the stream started near the Palbong mine are extremely high compared with those from other distances. These discrepancies are significant in Cd, Cu, Pb and Hg, but low in As. All the samples contain below detection limit of Cr+6. In the present stream water the concentrations of the heavy metals are not detected. So, it is interpreted that the concentrations in the soils are caused by the activities of the mining during the operation and have been continued by the dispersion from the tailings since after the closure of the mining, especially by the surface and ground water. The concentrations are diminished with the distance from the mining site, but in the interval of 800~2000 m increases abruptly. In the soil samples counted on the dispersion direction by wind, the lowering of the concentration is relatively uniform with the distance from the mining site. So, the rapid increase of the heavy metal concentrations is presumed to have been caused by the ground-water movement. In the migration of the heavy metals, the groundwater conditions, such as pH, Eh, the contents of colloidal particles, and Mn and Fe oxides are closely involved. Integrating with these factors, it is interpreted that the groundwater conditions which have caused the heavy metal contamination of the studied area are those that the pH is about 3 in oxidized conditions, the contents of the colloidal particles are low, and Mn and Fe oxides are not involved in the migration of the heavy metals. Meanwhile, the vegetables growing on the soils in the studied area are not affected by the contamination of the heavy metals.

Keywords abandoned mine, heavy metal contamination, soil, groundwater

Article

Econ. Environ. Geol. 2001; 34(3): 271-281

Published online June 30, 2001

Copyright © THE KOREAN SOCIETY OF ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY.

The Characteristics of Heavy Metal Contamination in Tailings and Soils in the Vicinity of the Palbong Mine, Korea

Young Up Lee1*, Jae Il Chung1 and Young Ho Kwon2

1Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Chonju 561-756, Korea
2Department of Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Seonam University, Namwon 590-170, Korea

Correspondence to:

Young Up Lee

yulee@moak.chonbuk.ac.kr

Received: October 23, 2000; Accepted: June 15, 2001

Abstract

The characteristics of the heavy metal contamination in the soils affected by the tailings of the Palbong mine have been studied. The soils in the studied area consist mostly of loam by the particle size analysis, but a little of it, located near the stream, consist of loamy sand to sandy loam, finally to loam downward. The organic contents of soils are significantly low about 2 percent and the pH is in acidic ranging 6.0 ± 0.1. The samples of the parent rocks, the normal soils, the tailings and the channel deposits from the studied area were chemically analysed. From the result, the heavy metal concentration of the soils is a little low compared with that of the parent rocks, shows the hydrologic process of the surface and the groundwater. The contamination of the tailings from the ore mining are high in lead, copper and arsenic. In the channel deposits the concentrations of lead and copper are abnormally high but that of arsenic is uniquely low. And most of heavy metal contamination are decreased with the distance from the mine. It is caused by the properties of the surface and the ground water during the process of the heavy metal migration. The correlation-coefficient between sand and silt contents and the concentrations of Cd, Cu and Pb are significant but the amounts of As and Hg are increased with the clay contents. The dispersion of the heavy metals with the distance shows that the concentrations of them in the soils sampled at distance of 100 m to 200 m along the stream started near the Palbong mine are extremely high compared with those from other distances. These discrepancies are significant in Cd, Cu, Pb and Hg, but low in As. All the samples contain below detection limit of Cr+6. In the present stream water the concentrations of the heavy metals are not detected. So, it is interpreted that the concentrations in the soils are caused by the activities of the mining during the operation and have been continued by the dispersion from the tailings since after the closure of the mining, especially by the surface and ground water. The concentrations are diminished with the distance from the mining site, but in the interval of 800~2000 m increases abruptly. In the soil samples counted on the dispersion direction by wind, the lowering of the concentration is relatively uniform with the distance from the mining site. So, the rapid increase of the heavy metal concentrations is presumed to have been caused by the ground-water movement. In the migration of the heavy metals, the groundwater conditions, such as pH, Eh, the contents of colloidal particles, and Mn and Fe oxides are closely involved. Integrating with these factors, it is interpreted that the groundwater conditions which have caused the heavy metal contamination of the studied area are those that the pH is about 3 in oxidized conditions, the contents of the colloidal particles are low, and Mn and Fe oxides are not involved in the migration of the heavy metals. Meanwhile, the vegetables growing on the soils in the studied area are not affected by the contamination of the heavy metals.

Keywords abandoned mine, heavy metal contamination, soil, groundwater

    KSEEG
    Apr 30, 2024 Vol.57 No.2, pp. 107~280

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