Environmental Monitoring of the Effects of Conventional and Artisanal Gold Mining on Water Quality in Ngwabalozi River, Southern Zimbabwe
International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis
Volume 2, Issue 2, April 2014, Pages: 123-127
Received: Apr. 10, 2014; Accepted: Apr. 22, 2014; Published: May 10, 2014
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Simbarashe Mudyazhezha, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
Reginald Kanhukamwe, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
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Mineral extraction contributes positive to the socioeconomic fabric of many African countries but has also contributed to the deterioration of environmental quality. It has been branded the most destructive industry in the world. This study sought to assess the effects of conventional gold mining which use cyanide for gold extraction and artisanal gold mining which uses mercury amalgamation on water quality in Ngwabalozi River. Along the river, there are gold panning activities upstream and a conventional mine downstream. Water samples were collected at four sampling points: 1) upstream of the gold panning activities; 2) just downstream of gold panning area; 3) upstream of the conventional mine; 4) downstream of the conventional mine. Benthic macro-invertebrates were also collected at the name four points, identified to family level and counted. Water samples were analyzed for mercury, iron, arsenic, sulphates and turbidity. There were significant differences (p = 0.000) in the measurements of mercury, arsenic, sulphates, taxa richness, total count of individuals, Shannon-Weiner index, evenness index and average tolerance scores among the four sampling sites. Gold panning activities were found to pollute Ngwabalozi River with mercury while the conventional mine polluted the river with sulphates. Gold panning activities also feed a lot of sand into the river resulting in high turbidity. Gold mining reduced the taxa richness, total count of individual and the diversity of benthic macro-invertebrate community in the river. There was pollution induced succession in the river as pollution sensitive species were replaced by pollution tolerant ones.
Gold Panning, Water Quality, Ngwabalozi River, Mercury, Biomonitoring, Sulphates
To cite this article
Simbarashe Mudyazhezha, Reginald Kanhukamwe, Environmental Monitoring of the Effects of Conventional and Artisanal Gold Mining on Water Quality in Ngwabalozi River, Southern Zimbabwe, International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis. Vol. 2, No. 2, 2014, pp. 123-127. doi: 10.11648/j.ijema.20140202.20
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