Effect of artisanal mineral mining on heavy metals content and chemical properties of soils of Ameka Mining Area in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State
The study was conducted at Ameka mining area in Abakaliki, Southeastern Nigeria, to evaluate the effect of artisanal mineral mining activities on heavy metals (lead, Zinc and cadmium) concentrations and Chemical Properties of soils of Ameka mining area. Auger Soil Samples (0.20cm) were collected at the four compass directions from 0m to 100m and 2500m away from the mines sites at 10m intervals. At each sampling interval three samples were collected randomly, to make three replications three composites were obtained at each interval of the four compass directions. Unmined soil ofAgbaja Unuhu community was used as control. The effect of artisanal mineral mining on lead, zinc and Cadmium concentrations in soils of the mineral mining area and soil chemical properties were assessed using randomized complete block design. The result showed that Lead, Zinc and Cadmium concentrations in soils of the mineral mining site were significantly (p<0.05) higher than that of the unmined soil of Agbaja Unuhu. On average Lead concentration was 860.4% higher in soils of mining area than the unmined soil of Agbaja Unuhu and 215.1% higher than the maximum tolerable limit 100mg/kg of soil. Zinc concentration in soils of Ameka mining area was 290.3% higher than the unmined soil of Agbaja Unuhu, however it was still below the maximum tolerable limit of 300mg/kg of soil. Cd concentration in soils of mining area was 53100% higher in soils of the mining area than the unmined soil of Agbaja Unuhu and 177% higher than the maximum tolerable limit in the soil. The result equally revealed negative and significant correlations between concentrations of lead, zinc and cadmium and critical soil chemical properties such as; pH, Available phosphorous, total Nitrogen, Organic Matter content, and Cation Exchange Capacity, which is an indication that the concentrations of lead, zinc and cadmium have negatively impacted on the fertility of the soils of Ameka mineral mining area.
Keywords: Mining, Lead, Zinc, Cadmium and Soil Chemical properties
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