American Journal of Applied Sciences

Determination of Heavy Metals and Other Elements in Artisanal Gold Mining Soils

S. Girigisu, I. G.E. Ibeanu, D. J. Adeyemo and S. Okoh

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2012.1014.1019

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 9, Issue 7

Pages 1014-1019

Abstract

Problem statement: The possible exposure of heavy elements to life as a result of artisanal gold mining activities can be of great concern because of its associated effect on health. Approach: Soil samples from the artisanal gold mining sites of Awwal and Bagega villages in Kebbi and Zamfara states of Nigeria were collected and analyzed for heavy and other elements by X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technique. Ten of the element analyses are presented in this study, based on their toxicity levels. Results: Four of the ten elements (Pb, Si, Rb and Fe) showed relatively high concentrations. Two of these four elements presented, (Si and Pb) may pose latent and immediate hazards to health. Respiratory crystalline silica is the major element constituent of the ever-well-pronounced mining dusts of the two sites. Its form of occurrence portends irreversible health problem called silicosis and is well linked to cancer forming properties; both of which develop through latency periods. Pb at whatever concentration portends both immediate and long term hazards to women and children at the greatest risks of exposures. Conclusion: Based on the results presented, there exist a possibility of an immediate and long term health risks associated with the artisanal gold mining exercises in the two sites studied if the said uncoordinated and unprofessional activities of the miners are left unchecked.

Copyright

© 2012 S. Girigisu, I. G.E. Ibeanu, D. J. Adeyemo and S. Okoh. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.