American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Impact of Mercury Mine Activities on Water Resources at Azzaba-North-East of Algeria

Fadila Alligui and Abdelhak Boutaleb

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2010.395.401

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 6, Issue 4

Pages 395-401

Abstract

Problem statement: Mercury mineralization occurred in Azzaba (north-eastern Algeria) as a part of mercurial Numidian belt, consists of numerous of Hg deposits (Koudiat Sma, Mrasma, Guenicha, Fendek, Ismail and Ras Elma). These deposits are hosted in a variety of lithologies including sandstone, limestone, breccias and conglomerate. The ores occur as cinnabar deposits in Ypresian-Lutetian formations. Although the quantity and type of information relating to mining operations within Azzaba remains insufficient and sparse an assessment of the impacts that mining and processing activities, have had or are likely to have, on water resources is required to describe the evidence of the origin and the extent Approach: 17 ground water samples were collected at different locations within the Hg mineralized area and analyzed to assess the source, degree and extent of the contamination. Results: The primary effect of mining is degradation of tens of kilometers of disturbed streams, thousands hectares of disturbed land including valuable ecosystems. chemical analysis showed that ground waters were also adversely affected by pollutants loading, the alluvial aquifer (composed primarily of silty sand and gravel) that serves as the primary source of drinking water for Menzel Ben Dishe, Es-sebt and Zaouia communities surrounding Ismail mercury complex shows high concentrations of Hg and other heavy metals. Conclusion: These high values were associated and controlled by mixed origin with similar contribution from anthropogenic and geoginic sources.

Copyright

© 2010 Fadila Alligui and Abdelhak Boutaleb. 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.