, Volume 89, Issue 6, pp 1106-1110,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 07 Oct 2012

Mercury in the Surface Soil and Cassava, Manihot esculenta (Flesh, Leaves and Peel) Near Goldmines at Bogoso and Prestea, Ghana


Mercury amalgamation is used indiscriminately in the recovery of gold by small-scale native gem winners in Ghana. Mercury is released into the environment in the form of wastewater, tailing and vapor from the roasting of amalgam to separate gold. The study looked at the levels of total mercury concentration in surface soil and cassava crop from farms located within the vicinities of Bogoso and Prestea Goldmines. The surface soil total mercury concentrations ranged between 125.29 and 352.52 μg/kg whiles cassava had between 66.60 and 195.47 μg/kg. The results showed proportionately more deposits at higher distances in 15−30 cm soil zone and less deposits at higher distances on leaves with relatively high uptake of the metal occurred at higher distances from the mines into the peels. These results suggest serious mercury pollution to the surface soil and the cassava crop but the speciation exercise showed that mercury is not in the free state, rather bound to hydroxides and organic compounds as complexes.