Trace elements lateral distribution and limitations for revegetation in lead mine soils: Case of Lakhouat mine, Tunisia
Anthropogenic activities such as mining have increased the prevalence and occurrence of trace elements soil contamination. Abandoned mine tailings cause the contamination of adjacent agricultural soils. In Lakhouat mining area (West-Northern Tunisia), the dispersion of particles containing Pb, Zn and Cd results in the contamination of the surrounding agricultural soils. These soils presented high concentrations of Pb (1272 mg kg-1), Zn (5543 mg kg-1) and Cd (25 mg kg-1). Furthermore, the tailing sample and soil sample close the dam tailing presented higher concentrations of Pb, Zn and Cd and conferred more limitation factors for revegetation than adjacent soils of mining area. The main limiting factors of mine soils are their low effective depth, low organic matter content and low phosphorus content and an imbalance between potassium and manganese exchangeable cations. These mine soils are strongly affected by high Pb, Zn and Cd levels which hinder revegetation.
Keywords: Tailing dam; Mine soils; Soil limiting factors; Trace elements; Soil contamination.