Keywords: biomonitors, lichens, soil contamination, mine tailings, chemical elements, NAA, neutron activation analysis, atmospheric dispersion, health risk, biomonitoring, copper sulphide open pit mining, particle dispersion, atmospheric particles, air pollution, air quality, epiphytic lichens, Evernia prunastri, bioaccumulation
Evaluation of atmospheric particle dispersion at a contaminated mine using biomonitors
This study has carried out the assessment of magnitude of toxic elements contamination in and around the Sao Domingos mining area, a copper-sulphide open pit mine, and atmospheric transport of above elements by using lichens and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA). Samples of the epiphytic lichen Evernia prunastri and soils were collected. The concentrations of As, Sb, Fe and Zn were very high in all of the soils and lichens: the highest levels were recorded in the lichens sampled close to tailings pile sites and diluted with distance. The concentrations of As, Sb and other elements in the lichen were much higher than the regional background level reflecting the high magnitude of contamination. Patterns of bioaccumulation of elements throughout the study area were quite similar for widespread pollutants such as As, Sb, Zn and Fe. The results showed that lichens are important biomonitors of terrestrial and atmospheric pollution in mining-affected areas.