In the Zeida abandoned mine, pit lake waters exhibit alkaline pH and high conductivity. The concentrations of the total dissolved lead and zinc are very low due to their adsorption on clay minerals and iron oxyhydroxides. Conversely, arsenic concentrations in two lakes (ZL1 and ZA) exceeded WHO water quality guidelines. The As content is relatively high in ZL1 lake and exists mainly as As(V). In ZA lake, As(III) occurs in low concentration compared to the total dissolved arsenic, while dimethylarsenic acid [H2AsO2(CH3)2, DMA) prevails. This means that arsenic was methylated by organic matter produced by microorganisms such as chlorella. The sequential extraction of floor sediments in two lakes shows that the bioavailable arsenic contents change between the two lakes. In ZA lake, the sediments show high concentrations of lead and arsenic compared to ZL1 sediment since it is surrounded by mining waste tailings, which are rich in such chemical elements. An arsenic leaching test of ZA sediment shows that bioavailable arsenic is distributed in equal proportion between clay/carbonates, sulfide-organic matter, and iron oxides (HFO) phases, while in ZL1, most of the arsenic is linked to hydrous iron oxides (HFO).
Thematic collection: This article is part of the Hydrochemistry related to exploration and environmental issues collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/cc/hydrochemistry-related-to-exploration-and-environmental-issues