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You are here: Home » Past Issues » Volume 8, 2013 - Number 3 » HEAVY METALS DISTRIBUTION AND MOBILITY IN FLOTATION TAILINGS AND AGRICULTURAL SOILS NEAR THE ABANDONED Pb-Zn DISTRICT OF JEBEL HALLOUF-SIDI BOUAOUANE (NW TUNISIA)


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Hedi Karim CHAKROUN1-2, Fouad SOUISSI2, Radhia SOUISSI2, Jean-Luc BOUCHARDON3, Jacques MOUTTE3 & Saâdi ABDELJAOUED1
1Laboratoire des Ressources Minérales et Environnement, Département de Géologie, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Université de Tunis El Manar, El Manar, 2092 Tunis, Tunisie. hedikarim@gmail.com
2Laboratoire des Matériaux Utiles, Institut National de Recherche et d’Analyse Physico-chimique, Pôle Technologique, Sidi Thabet, 2020 Tunis, Tunisie.
3Département GENERIC, Centre SPIN, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines, Saint-Etienne, France.

HEAVY METALS DISTRIBUTION AND MOBILITY IN FLOTATION TAILINGS AND AGRICULTURAL SOILS NEAR THE ABANDONED Pb-Zn DISTRICT OF JEBEL HALLOUF-SIDI BOUAOUANE (NW TUNISIA)

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Abstract:

Mineralogical and geochemical analyses of the environmental components in the vicinity of the abandoned mines of Jebel Hallouf-Sidi Bouaouane have shown that large volumes of flotation tailings are made of base metal sufides (galena, sphalerite, pyrite, marcasite) accompanied with lesser amounts of sulfosalts (jordanite, tennantite) and associated to a carbonated (calcite) and clayey (kaolinite, illite) matrix. Strong heavy metals (Pb, Zn and Cd) concentrations are recorded in soil and flotation tailings. Their concentrations in the flotation tailings are around 9250 mg·kg-1, 8200 mg·kg-1 and 66.5 mg·kg-1, respectively. Their mean concentrations in the soils surrounding the aforementioned mine wastes, are 39,720 mg·kg-1, 9030 mg·kg-1 and 86 mg·kg-1, respectively. Erosion by wind and running waters (heavy rain and flood periods) are considered as important mechanism in carrying these toxic elements to flood areas, and especially to soils lying on the eastern side of Jebel Hallouf Mountain. The statistical analyses of geochemical data relative to mine wastes and soils display a relationship between heavy metals and clay. Another relation is established between these metals and iron oxides. In soil, the multivariate statistical approach [principal component analysis (PCA)] has shown two contamination origins: the mining wastes and rock dumps (F1xF2 diagram). Heavy metals concentrations in batch solutions of the contaminated soil samples varied between 36.6 μg·l-1 and 51.2 μg·l-1 for Pb, 543 μg·l-1 and 3600 μg·l-1 for Zn and 0.2 μg·l-1 and 2.5 μg·l-1 for Cd, while for the flotation tailings the concentrations varied between 16.9 μg·l-1 and 483 μg·l-1, 63 μg·l-1 and 3240 μg·l-1, and 2 μg·l-1 and 9.8 μg·l-1 for the same elements respectively. Concentrations of the same order are measured in meteoric water samples taken at the
top of the flotation tailing piles essentially for Zn (145 μg·l-1 to 1933 μg·l-1) and Cd (4.6 μg·l-1 to 34.6 μg·l-1). These results express the high mobility of heavy metals as to exceed the environmental norms especially for Pbin the contaminated soils as well as Pb and Cd in the flotation tailings leaching solutions.

Keyword: Heavy metals, abandoned mine, calcareous soil, horizontal dispersion, PCA, batch testing


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