Academic journal article The Indonesian Journal of Geography

Heavy Metals Distribution in the Artisanal Gold Mining Area in Wonogiri

Academic journal article The Indonesian Journal of Geography

Heavy Metals Distribution in the Artisanal Gold Mining Area in Wonogiri

Article excerpt


The problem of heavy metal contamination in soil is already understood to be harmful to the environment The existence of contaminants in the soil may be caused by natural processes, but mostly due to human activities. Natural process that led to the emergence of contamination in the soil include: in volcanic activity and andesitic minerals alteration. As caused by human activities may include mining, industry, households, agriculture, etc. [Bless et al.,, 5216; Hu et al., 5213; Iorfa, et al., 5211]. Gold mining activities consisting of material mining and processing to separate the gold from the tailings, both of which can potentially lead to the emergence and heavy metal contamination in the soil. The spread of contaminants in the soil and in the area around the source of the contaminant is determined by the basic characteristics of the soil [Iorfa et al., 5211] landform and land use. While the amount of Fe and Mn in soil is naturally at abundant levels [Hu et al., 5213]. Artisanal mining activity in Wonogiri Regency Central Java Province has been going on since about a century ago. Mining activities they do to increase revenue from the main work as a farmer. Mining community does not understand very well the characteristics of the soil and the water flow which can lead to the spreading of heavy metal contamination. The main environmental effects of artisanal mining are soil erosion, sedimentation of water bodies, mercury pollution, and a total lack of land reclamation after closure [McMahon et al., 5222]. Of these, the most common problem causing cationic metals (metallic elements whose forms in soil are positively charged cations e.g., Pb5+) are mercury, cadmium, lead, nickel, copper, zinc, chromium, and manganese [NCRS, 5222].

Heavy metals (HM) are considered to be metals with a density/specific mass above 1 [Nies, 1999; Hooda, 5212], and include: copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pd), iron (Fe), nickel (Ni), silver (Ag), thorium (Th), uranium (U), mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As).

Untill now, there is no sufficient in the studied area about the spread of heavy metals in the soil in the mining and processing of gold in the mine area of the people at this location, while artisanal gold mining was already done from about one century ago.

Based on the problems that exist in this area, then the purpose of this study was to analyze the distribution of heavy metals as contaminants in the soil associated with alteration minerals, gold mining activities and processing in artisanal mining village of Boto village Wonogiri Regency.

2.The Methods

The study was conducted in the area of artisanal mining, as artisanal and small scale mining, which is located in the village of Boto, Jatiroto, Wonogiri. The location is part of mountainous region known as Gunung Mas. Mining is done by open pit mining that is in Tapel site, which is located at the peak of Gunung Mas Mountains. Mineral processing was performed by the amalgamation using mercury (Hg) which is locally termed as "gelondong", that there were more than fifteen units located in the village. Sampling was carried out in the area, and there were for 66 samples that were distributed from: 1) alteration of rocks from open pit mines, 2) the tailings and the soil surrounding the amalgamation site, 3) soil on the rice field that were potentially received contaminant from the liquid waste result in amalgamation processing. Analysis of heavy metals includes Fe, Mn, Hg, Pb, Co, As from soil and tailing samples that were conducted using X-ray Fluoresence (XRF). Statistical analysis included: mean, median, mode, standard deviation, testing for normality, skewness, kurtosis number and frequency distribution curve along with the normal expectation. Spatial distribution of heavy metals Fe, Mn, Hg, Pb, Co, As presented in the form of a contour map metal levels in the soil with the slope correction factor to determine the pattern of spread of contaminants. …

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