Geochemical Characteristics and Contamination Risk Assessment of Soil

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 February 2024) | Viewed by 2734

Special Issue Editors

Geological Survey of Slovenia, Dimičeva ul. 14, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: mining and environmental impacts; recycling; environmental geochemistry
IME Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling Department, RWTH Aachen University, 52056 Aachen, Germany
Interests: environmental protection; recycling; metallurgy; mineral processing; nanotechnology; waste water treatment
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil, as a key component of the four circles interconnecting atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere, plays a vital role in sustaining human life and the terrestrial system globally. Meanwhile, the soil contamination of toxic trace metals is becoming increasingly serious in many countries around the world, along with urbanization and industrialization, of which pose a severe hazard to ecosystems and human health. The increased content of trace metals can adversely affect the biological properties of soil, cause changes in the food chain, have a toxic effect on plants, and can contaminate groundwater. The total concentration and geochemical baseline concentration are usually the first step in the assessment of trace metals pollution. Moreover, the background values can distinguish between natural and anthropogenically influenced concentrations, and in turn, can calculate the anthropogenic contribution rate. When the permissible content level is exceeded, heavy metals reduce soil fertility, inhibit soil enzymatic activity, and change soil acidity.

Traditional long-lasting mining and extraction processes are accompanied by severe environmental pollution and ecological damage globally, but at the same time, the mining and mineral extraction processes industry plays a vital role in the development of modern technologies. There is a growing demand for raw material production and supplying invaluable resources for modern civilisation. Modern society achieves greater efficiency by developing innovative waste recycling technologies.

The increase in the amount of mining and metallurgical waste represents a big problem for the environment. This is why various methods are used for the processing of flotation tailings, red mud, and slag landfills, which are a potential source of accumulated metals. Unfortunately, they pile up on the ground and create an intractable problem. This is why advances in studying the processing of various landfills are a great challenge, thus motivating scientists and the entire human community. The processing of acid mine drainage waters and the neutralization of acidic waters will especially be discussed in this book, which will include our hydrometallurgists and hydrogeologists.

This Special Issue invites research papers on the various aspects of soil pollution to understand the relationships between soil and the surrounding environment. The combination of different analytical modelling techniques and pollution indices provides a more reliable approach for comprehensively determining toxic elements, their pathways, and their spatial distributions. The results on this topic from a global perspective are of interest to this Special Issue, as well as legal and regulatory challenges.

Dr. Jasminka Alijagić
Dr. Srecko Stopic
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • soil contamination
  • contamination risk assessment
  • health risk assessment
  • modelling techniques
  • pollution indices
  • spatial distributions
  • treatment of metallurgical and mining wastes
  • environmental protection
  • recovery of critical metals

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 15641 KiB  
Article
Prevention of Silica Gel Formation for Eudialyte Study Using New Digestion Reactor
Minerals 2024, 14(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14020124 - 24 Jan 2024
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Abstract
This work includes a combined hydrometallurgical treatment of a eudialyte ore sample with a subsequent preparation of leaching residue using mechanical separation methods. Hydrometallurgical treatment contains dry digestion with sulphuric acid at room temperature and filtration of the obtained product. The objectives of [...] Read more.
This work includes a combined hydrometallurgical treatment of a eudialyte ore sample with a subsequent preparation of leaching residue using mechanical separation methods. Hydrometallurgical treatment contains dry digestion with sulphuric acid at room temperature and filtration of the obtained product. The objectives of adopting these procedures are to test a new digestion reactor in order to prevent silica gel formation from the eudialyte ore. The obtained results revealed that silica gel formation is prevented during dissolution with sulphuric acid. A high leaching efficiency of light rare earth elements (La, Ce, Nd, Y) was reached using the dry digestion process with sulphuric acid, where the starting molarity was 12 mol/L. After the filtration process, magnetic separation is studied as the main method to recover weakly magnetic minerals like amphiboles and pyroxenes from the leaching residue in the magnetic fraction and feldspars in the nonmagnetic fraction. A new combined research strategy was developed for the production of different concentrates such as the one bearing Zr, Hf, and Nb. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geochemical Characteristics and Contamination Risk Assessment of Soil)
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12 pages, 2212 KiB  
Article
Development of the Recycling of Alloyed Metallurgical Waste: Features of Phase and Structural Transformations
Minerals 2023, 13(9), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13091171 - 05 Sep 2023
Viewed by 721
Abstract
The features of structural and phase transformations during the processing of alloyed metallurgical wastes using reduction smelting are determined herein. This is necessary in order to determine the technological parameters of the melting process that ensure the reduction in the losses of alloying [...] Read more.
The features of structural and phase transformations during the processing of alloyed metallurgical wastes using reduction smelting are determined herein. This is necessary in order to determine the technological parameters of the melting process that ensure the reduction in the losses of alloying components. The use of X-ray phase analysis in combination with the methods of raster electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis ensured the identification of the microstructure features and the chemical composition of individual phases and inclusions in the metal. Our study identified new technological aspects of high-alloyed technogenic waste processing using reduction smelting. The obtained parameters of the resource-saving alloying compound provide the possibility to replace parts of the standard ferroalloys in steelmaking processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geochemical Characteristics and Contamination Risk Assessment of Soil)
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14 pages, 44596 KiB  
Article
Temporal–Spatial Distributions and Influencing Factors of Heavy Metals As, Cd, Pb, and Zn in Alluvial Soils on a Regional Scale in Guangxi, China
Minerals 2023, 13(8), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13081107 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
Understanding the temporal–spatial distribution and influencing factors of heavy metals on a regional scale is crucial for assessing the anthropogenic impacts and natural variations in elemental geochemical behavior. This study evaluated the spatial distributions of the heavy metals As, Cd, Pb, and Zn [...] Read more.
Understanding the temporal–spatial distribution and influencing factors of heavy metals on a regional scale is crucial for assessing the anthropogenic impacts and natural variations in elemental geochemical behavior. This study evaluated the spatial distributions of the heavy metals As, Cd, Pb, and Zn as well as the driving mechanisms over the past 31 years in Guangxi, China, using three geochemical baseline projects (the Environmental Geochemical Monitoring Network Project (EGMON) project 1992–1996; the Geochemical Baseline (CGB) 1 project 2008–2012; and the CGB2 project 2015–2019). By calculating the variable importance using the random forest algorithm, it was found that natural factors are the primary drivers of the spatial distribution of heavy metals in the EGMON project, especially precipitation for As, the digital elevation model (DEM) for Cd and Pb, and temperature for Zn. Surface alluvial soils showed obvious heavy metal enrichment in the CGB1 project, with the gross domestic product (GDP) driving the spatial distribution of all heavy metals. In addition, the anomalous intensity and range of heavy metals in the CGB2 project decreased significantly compared with the CGB1 project, especially owing to the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as a positive anthropogenic factor that improves the degree of rocky desertification, thus reducing the heavy metal contents of As and Pb, and the precipitation promoting the decomposition of Fe–Mn concretions and thus the migration of Cd and Zn. This research promotes an understanding of anthropogenic and natural influences on the spatiotemporal distribution of heavy metals and is of great significance for environmental monitoring and governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geochemical Characteristics and Contamination Risk Assessment of Soil)
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