Heavy metal contamination of soils and water resources kettara abandoned mine

Mouhsine Esshaimi, Naaila Ouazzani, Marta Avila, Gustavo Perez, Manuel Valiente, Laila Mandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Problem statement: Metal mining; together with mineral smelting and processing, have contaminated the environment surrounding mine areas throughout the world exceeding natural background concentration. Approach: These processes introduce metal contaminants into the environment through gaseous and particulate emissions, waste liquids and solid wastes. The principal objective of this study was to investigate soil and water contamination in the vicinity of the kettara abandoned mine located in the South of Morocco. Results: High total concentrations of heavy metals were found in both tailings and soil samples. Furthermore in the tailings the maximum concentrations of the mobile fraction of metals were 76, 80 and 79 mg kg -1 of Cu, Pb and Zn, respectively, for the soil samples the maximum concentrations values were 68, 52 and 26 mg kg -1 of Cu, Pb and Zn, respectively. As a result of dispersion of the metals downstream and downslope, soils contained higher metal concentrations than those from nearby control sites (P<0.05). This may be due to surface runoff and strong wind action which caused the movement of mine waste material. The chemical properties of tailings were characterized by very low pH and high levels of EC. Furthermore, in the wet season the water from kettara mine contained elevated levels of Cu, Pb, Zn and SO 42. Conclusion/Recommendations: According to this study, the agricultural activity in the vicinity of the kettara mine requires careful consideration. Recultivation of the tailings and the remediation of surface water and soil are recommended.© 2012 Science Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-261
JournalAmerican Journal of Environmental Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2012


  • Heavy metals
  • Mobility
  • Soil
  • Tailings
  • Water contamination


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