The mineral deposits and traces in the Iberian Peninsula are very numerous and of varied mineralogy. This study aimed to analyze the geochemical and environmental changes detected in soil, water, and sediments around the La Sierre mine, and to determine if contamination persists over time. The concentrations of ten trace elements (As, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Zn) were measured in 20 soil samples, 10 water samples, and 6 sediment samples, sampling at the most affected points. Soil and sediment samples were analyzed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and water samples by Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES). From the Principal Component Analysis (PCA), soil samples SOI-6, 7, and 20 presented high amounts ranging from 14489.86a±7 to 3031.72b ± 1 mg/kg of Co, Cu, Ni, and As, respectively. Water samples WAT-6, 8, and 10 presented high contents of As, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn, being sample WAT-8 with high values of As, Co, Cu, Fe, and Ni with 48.1 ± 0.82, 368 ± 4, 68.3 ± 0.1, 97.5 ± 1.2, and 152 ± 2 μg/L, respectively, exceeding the regulation given by R.D 314/2016 (Water for human consumption). The sediment samples were compared with the IInterim Sediment Quality Guideline (ISQG) and Probable Effect Level (PEL) values given by the Canadian Sediment Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life. When presenting a high ISQG value, but low PEL, they partially comply with the regulations, which happens with samples SED-1, 2, and 8 for As and SED-5, 6, and 7 for Pb. On the contrary, Cr and Cu do not comply with what is established in samples SED-8 and SED-1 and 8, respectively, whereas, in samples SED-2 and 5, Cu partially complies with the established regulations. The values found for the trace elements present in the abandoned traditional mining area with abundant epithermal deposits prevail over time in soil, water, and sediments.
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- Trace elements
- Traditional mining