Abstract

To investigate copper, arsenic, lead and zinc contamination in the topsoil of the Erdenet copper mining area in Mongolia, soil samples collected from the surrounding area were examined for trace element concentrations, geochemical fractions, and phase distributions. Of the 19 trace elements analyzed, the highest concentrations of Cu (1443–4866 mg kg-1), As (26–52 mg kg-1), and Mo (24–49 mg kg-1) in soils from the mine industrial area exceeded the corresponding values listed in the National Standard of Mongolia. Copper was largely associated with the organic/sulfide fraction, and As, Pb and Zn were associated with the residual fraction. Significantly high enrichment factor (EF) and geoaccumulation index (Igeo) values confirmed that Cu and As in the soil from the mine industrial area are at serious levels and their sources may be related to anthropogenic activities such as mining.

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