Trace Elements in Tailings: Understanding Their Implications When Used as a Construction Material and as a Re-Usable Agricultural Land

International Journal of Geoinformatics and Geological Science
© 2020 by SSRG - IJGGS Journal
Volume 7 Issue 2
Year of Publication : 2020
Authors : E. Arhin, A. W. Bukari, R. Kazapoe
How to Cite?

E. Arhin, A. W. Bukari, R. Kazapoe, "Trace Elements in Tailings: Understanding Their Implications When Used as a Construction Material and as a Re-Usable Agricultural Land," SSRG International Journal of Geoinformatics and Geological Science, vol. 7,  no. 2, pp. 37-42, 2020. Crossref,


Exposure to harmful elements and consuming food produce from soils deficient of essential elements impact on human development and affect health of living things. Utilizing mine tailings for construction and/or using the tailings for agricultural activities require the understanding of the contained elements in terms of their concentrations and distributions in space. In this study, 40 tailings samples were sampled for the contained elements distributions and concentrations. The collected samples were analysed using ICP-OES analytical method. 11 elements including As, Hg, Mo, Cd, Cr, Ni, Cu, CN, Co, Pb and Zn were studied. The concentration levels of these 11 elements were compared with the global background values in soils.
All elements except Mo showed an enrichment factor of 49.178, in excess of about 83%. The calculated geo-accumulation index (Igeo) of the selected
elements confirmed Mo to be the only element in the tailings to suggest moderate pollution with Muller’s value of 1.1876. Tomlinson’s (1980) assessment of the Pollution Load Indices (PLI) was in agreement to Igeo value. Apart from the sample that was collected at CHR006 with PLI>1(calculated PLI=1.5191), all sample locations had PLI < 1 with values between 0.0007 and 0.0724. The polluted element identified by Igeo and PLI (Mo) has no known detrimental effects on humans and therefore the tailings could be used for all sorts of construction works and the materials
can be re-used for agricultural work.


Tailings, Re-used, Elements, Geoaccumulation, Pollution, Chirano.


[1] Antwi-Agyei, P., Hogarh, J. N. and Foli, G. “Trace elements contamination of soil around gold mine tailings dams at Obuasi, Ghana”. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology Vol. 3(11), 353-359, November, 2009
[2] Appiah D. 2015. “Aeromagnetic and airborne radiometric data interpretation on Chirano area of the Sefwi gold belt”. A Thesis Submitted to The Department of Physics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Degree of Master of Philosophy (Geophysics).
[3] Ghana Statistical Service. (2014). 2010 “population and housing census report”. Ghana Statistical Service.
[4] Michl, R. J. (1993). U.S. Patent No. 5,213,615. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
[5] Muller, G. (1979). “Schwermetalle in den sedimenten des Rheins-Veranderungen seit 1971”. Umschau, 79, 778-783.
[6] Oppong, K. (2011). “Impact of Chirano gold mines operations on levels of As, Pb, Hg and Cd in the Suraw River and the possible health implications on downstream communities”. A thesis submitted to the Department of Environmental Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
[7] Rawlins, B. G., Breward, N., Ferpozzi, L., Figueiredo, B. and Borba, R. 1997. “Preliminary investigation of miningrelated arsenic contamination in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan (Argentina) and Minas Gerais state (Brazil)”. British Geological Survey Technical Report WC/97/60.
[8] Stuart, H. (2009). “Technical report on the Chirano gold mine”, Republic of Ghana for Red Back Mining Inc.
[9] Tomlinson, D. L., Wilson, J. G., Harris, C. R., & Jeffrey, D. W. (1980). “Problems in the assessment of heavy-metal levels in estuaries and the formation of a pollution index”. Helgoländer meeresuntersuchungen, 33(1), 566-575.