Analysis of the distribution of some Potentially Harmful Elements (PHEs) in the Krugersdorp Game Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-06, 10:19 authored by Michael Shapi, Maryam Amra Jordaan, Devandren Subramoney Nadasan, Theophilus C. Davies, Emmanuel Chirenje, Mpumelelo Dube, Mammusa R. Lekoa
The Mintails Mogale Gold (MMG) and the Rand Uranium (RU) are two large-scale mining consortiums active in re-mining old tailings dams and dumps in Krugersdorp and are a source of mine discharge feed into the Krugersdorp Game Reserve (KGR). This has resulted in a noticeable accumulation of potentially harmful elements (PHEs) over a number of years. Efforts were implemented to interpret the concentration levels of PHEs in soils of the study areas of which a total of 36 georeferenced soil samples were collected (in triplicate) from the MMG, RU and KGR, including samples from farmlands and waterways adjacent to the mining sites. Samples were then analysed by both inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for 36 elements. From the 36 elements of this study, detailed evaluations of the occurrence of 12 selected elements were discussed. The geochemical landscape at the KGR is shown to be in flux. The major mediating influences on the behaviour of As, Co, Cu, Hg and Pb, as they enter the KGR largely in the form of acid mine drainage (AMD), are the geological substrate (mostly in carbonate form). Analysis of the soils showed high levels of contamination for As and Co in ppm. The mean maximum of As ranged from (5.00–170.30) with the highest level found in the Krugersdorp site. The mean maximum of Co ranged from (46.00–102.30) with the highest level found in MMG. All of these values were well above the recommended maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) values, i.e., As (15–20) and Co (20–50). The mean maximum values for Pb (12.40–92.30); Cu (18.50–115.30) and Hg (12.40–92.30) content in surface soils of all four segments studied falls well within the MAC range for agricultural soils i.e., Cu (60–150); Hg (0.5–5) and Pb (20–300).