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Trace element partitioning and soil particle characterisation around mining and smelting areas at Tharsis, Riotinto and Huelva, SW Spain

Chopin, E. I. B. and Alloway, B. J. (2007) Trace element partitioning and soil particle characterisation around mining and smelting areas at Tharsis, Riotinto and Huelva, SW Spain. Science of the Total Environment, 373 (2-3). pp. 488-500. ISSN 0048-9697

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.11.037

Abstract/Summary

Trace elements may present an environmental hazard in the vicinity of mining and smelting activities. However, the factors controlling trace element distribution in soils around ancient and modem mining and smelting areas are not always clear. Tharsis, Riotinto and Huelva are located in the Iberian Pyrite Belt in SW Spain. Tharsis and Riotinto mines have been exploited since 2500 B.C., with intensive smelting taking place. Huelva, established in 1970 and using the Flash Furnace Outokumpu process, is currently one of the largest smelter in the world. Pyrite and chalcopyrite ore have been intensively smelted for Cu. However, unusually for smelters and mines of a similar size, the elevated trace element concentrations in soils were found to be restricted to the immediate vicinity of the mines and smelters, being found up to a maximum of 2 kin from the mines and smelters at Tharsis, Riotinto and Huelva. Trace element partitioning (over 2/3 of trace elements found in the residual immobile fraction of soils at Tharsis) and soil particles examination by SEM-EDX showed that trace elements were not adsorbed onto soil particles, but were included within the matrix of large trace element-rich Fe silicate slag particles (i.e. 1 min circle divide at least 1 wt.% As, Cu and Zn, and 2 wt.% Pb). Slag particle large size (I mm 0) was found to control the geographically restricted trace element distribution in soils at Tharsis, Riotinto and Huelva, since large heavy particles could not have been transported long distances. Distribution and partitioning indicated that impacts to the environment as a result of mining and smelting should remain minimal in the region. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3388
Uncontrolled Keywords:trace elements smelter partitioning slag particle size SEM-EDX HEAVY-METAL CONTAMINATION SEQUENTIAL EXTRACTION KOLA-PENINSULA COPPER SMELTER MINERALOGICAL FORMS LEAD VICINITY ZINC SPECIATION POLLUTION
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