Published in: Holistic Approach Environ. 5(2015) 2, pp. 71 – 76
Paper reference number: HAE-98
Download Full text PDF
MINING RELATED ARSENIC PROBLEMS IN GHANA
Crentsil Kofi Bempah*
* Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Process Engineering, Technical University, Cottbus, Germany
Ghana is Africa’s second-largest gold producing country after South Africa. Most mining areas particularly in Ashanti Region (Obuasi) and Western Region (Tarkwa), until the introduction of the bio-oxidation (BIOX) technology of extracting gold, the processing of the ore for gold involved the crushing and grinding of ore to fine powder followed by dissolution and precipitation of free gold. During the ore preparation by roasting, sulphur dioxide and As trioxide were released into terrestrial and atmospheric environments. As rich tailings heaped and kept in dams were left at the mercy of the rain with subsequent leaching into rivers, streams and aquifers. Other mine wastes as particulates were transported far and near through the air. There is also continuous wet and dry deposition of particles unto land, water and plants. Humans and animals are exposed to As through drinking, diet and inhalation.
Keywords: mining, arsenic, environment, gold deposits, heavy metals, Ghana