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Geochemical investigation of Sasa tailings dam material and its influence on the Lake Kalimanci surficial sediments (Republic of Macedonia) – preliminary study

Author(s): Petra Vrhovnik | Nastja Rogan Šmuc | Tadej Dolenec | Todor Serafimovski | Goran Tasev | Matej Dolenec

Journal: Geologija
ISSN 0016-7789

Volume: 54;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 169;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Sasa Mine | tailings dam | toxic metals | environmental pollution | Lake Kalimanci

This research is aimed at investigating the mineralogical characteristics of the tailings material and heavy metal contents of the tailings material deposited close to the Sasa Pb-Zn Mine in the Osogovo Mountains (eastern Macedonia) and on its possible impact on Lake Kalimanci. The mineral composition of Sasa Mine tailings materialis dominated by quartz, pyrite, galena, sphalerite, magnetite and others. Geochemical analysis was performed in a certified commercial laboratory for the following elements: Mo, Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, As, Cd, Sb, Bi, Ag, Al, Fe, Mn, S.Analysis revealed very high concentrations of toxic metals in the tailing material – with average values [ mg kg-1]:Mo 2.9, Cu 279, Pb 3975, Zn 5320, Ni 30, As 69, Cd 84, Sb 4.2, Bi 9.4 and Ag 4.1. The multi-element contamination of Sasa Mine tailings material was assigned a pollution index greater of 15, indicating that the tailings material from Sasa Mine contains very high amounts of toxic metals and represents a high environmental risk for surrounding ecosystems. For this reason the influence of discharged tailings dam material into Lake Kalimanci which liesapproximately 12 km lower than Sasa Mine, was also established. Calculated pollution index values for Lake Kalimancisediments vary from 21 to 65 and for Sasa mine surficial tailings dam material from 15 to 60.
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