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Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo

On-line version ISSN 1806-9657


SILVA, S. R.; PROCOPIO, S. O.; QUEIROZ, T. F. N.  and  DIAS, L. E.. Characterization of gold mine tailing to evaluate the arsenic and heavy metal solubility and local revegetation. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2004, vol.28, n.1, pp.189-196. ISSN 1806-9657.

Dumps of waste and sterile matter from mine activities are potential sources of environmental contamination with their contents of heavy metals and arsenic, especially when these materials contain sulfide minerals and high metal levels. The objective of this study was the characterization of refuse from a gold mine area in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in order to evaluate acid drainage and metal solubilization problems, and local revegetation planning. Surface samples (0-20 cm) were collected and submitted to routine fertility analysis and specific chemical characterization of Ni, Cu, Pb, Cd, Fe, Zn, Cr, As, and S, extracted with Aqua Regia, Mehlich-1, EDTA, and de-ionized water. The analysis of the net acid generation (NAG), acid neutralization capacity (ANC) and acid-base accounting (ABA), as well as texture and x-ray diffraction analysis were also carried out. The samples presented low levels of P, K, and organic matter, high acidity and salinity, and high levels of As, which represent rigorous restrictions on the establishment of vegetal species. The waste presented a potential of acidification and solubilization of elements like As, Fe, and S, which can bring on environmental problems such as acid drainage and contamination of soil and water, as well as the incorporation of these elements into the food-chain.

Keywords : acid drainage; chemical extractors; environmental pollution.

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