Investigating the concentrations of different elements in soil and plant composition from a mining area

Joshua O. Olowoyo*, Anthony I. Odiwe, Nquobile M. Mkolo, Linda Macheka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Contamination of soils around mines by heavy metals has not yet received the serious attention that it deserves in South Africa. The current study evaluated the concentrations and levels of pollution by trace metals in soils around a Ferro-chromium mine in South Africa. Soil samples were collected from 20 locations in four different directions, namely southwest, southeast, northwest, and northeast of the mine. The soils were analyzed for trace metals concentrations using ICP-MS. The result revealed that soil pH was in the acidic medium with a very low level of soil organic matter. The concentrations of elements from the soil followed the order A1 > Fe > Ca > Mg > Cr > Na > Mn > Ni > Zn > V > Cu > Pb > As > Cd. Higher concentrations for all the elements were recorded from the topsoil and also from the southwestern direction, and the differences in the concentrations were significant (p> 0.05). A highly significant positive correlation of Fe and Cr with Ni and with each other (0.42 ≤ r ≥ 0.82) were recorded. The P i (pollution index) and I-geo (geoaccumulation index) indicated that the soils around the mine were severely contaminated with Cr and Ni. The concentrations of Fe, Cr, and Ni from the-soil samples were high enough to cause serious health problems for people living in the area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1141
Number of pages7
JournalPolish Journal of Environmental Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromium
  • Lead and arsenic
  • Mining
  • Pollution
  • Trace metals


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