alexa Multielemental Analysis of Gold Ore Samples from Underg
ISSN: 2161-0525

Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology
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Research Article

Multielemental Analysis of Gold Ore Samples from Underground Artisanal Gold Mines in Tongo, Upper East Region of Ghana: Implications of Occupational Exposure

Doyi I1*, Essumang D2, Nyarku M1, Gbeddy G1, Ackah M3, Ameho E1 and Owusu-Bentil N3
1National Radioactive Waste Management Centre, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, PO Box LG 80, Legon-Accra, Ghana
2Department of Chemistry, School of Physical Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
3Nuclear Chemistry and Environmental Research Centre, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, PO Box LG 80, Legon-Accra, Ghana
*Corresponding Author : Israel Doyi
National Radioactive Waste Management Centre
Ghana Atomic Energy Commission
PO Box LG 80
Legon-Accra, Ghana
Tel: +233302401272
Fax: +233302400807
E-mail: [email protected]
Received June 15, 2015; Accepted January 27, 2016; Published February 03, 2016
Citation: Doyi I, Essumang D, Nyarku M, Gbeddy G, Ackah M, et al. (2016) Multielemental Analysis of Gold Ore Samples from Underground Artisanal Gold Mines in Tongo, Upper East Region of Ghana: Implications of Occupational Exposure. J Environ Anal Toxicol 6:350. doi:10.4172/2161-0525.1000350
Copyright: © 2016 Doyi I, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
 

Abstract

Background: The presence of gold deposits discovered in rural areas in Ghana has attracted a lot of unemployed youth and smallscale mining ventures to the rural communities. The activities of illegal small-scale gold mining (locally referred to as “galamsey”) in the community is causing serious environmental havoc and destruction. The results of heavy element profiling of gold ores associated with the underground artisanal gold mining activities of the Tongo mines in the Upper East Region of Ghana have been reported in this paper. The analysis was made to assess the occupational exposure of the miners as well as to investigate the environmental impact of toxic heavy metals. Results: Gold ores from seven artisanal gold mines were sampled and analysed for heavy elemental content using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy technique. The ranges of major elements detected were: Pb (14.16-37.00 mg/kg); Co (6.40-31.52 mg/kg); As (25.08-27.36 mg/kg); Hg (5.04-6.16 mg/kg); Ni (69.44-332.40 mg/kg); Mn (259.04-528.64 mg/kg) and Cd were Below Detectable Limits (BDL). The potential health risk assessment calculated for a lifetime of exposure for ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact were determined as the cumulative carcinogenic risk for children and adults. Risk assessment indicated that the carcinogenic risk is completely insignificant but the cumulative non-carcinogenic Hazard Index recorded alarming values of 4.55E+00 to 4.15E+01 and 8.53E-01 to 3.43E+01 for children and adults respectively. Conclusions: The investigations show that the concentrations of Pb, As and Ni which are known carcinogens presents no significant carcinogenic lifetime risk due to ingestion, inhalation and/or dermal contact but the non-carcinogenic risk, expressed as the Hazardous Index (HI), is not so benevolent; the cumulative index for all elements exceeding 1 and should be of concern, particularly in cases of the exposure of children. Capsule abstract: The concentrations of elements ranged from 5.04 mg/kg for Hg to 528.64 for Mn with highest Hazard Index being 4.55E+00 to 4.15E+01 and 8.53E-01 to 3.43E+01 for children.

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