Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 2087–2100 | Cite as

Distribution, geochemistry, and mineralogy of aerosols in the Angouran Mine area, northwest Iran

  • Saideh Ghadimi
  • Giti Forghani
  • Gholam Abbas Kazemi
Original Paper


The Angouran Mine, located in northwest Iran, is the largest Zn–Pb producer in the Middle East. This study was designed to investigate the distribution, geochemistry, and mineralogy of the aerosols in the mining area and to assess their likely health impacts on the local residents. For this purpose, 36 aerosol samples were collected from 2014 to 2015 at nine sites located in mine district and upwind and downwind directions. The concentration of potentially toxic elements in the aerosols was determined using AAS instrument. Size, morphology, and mineralogy of the particles were studied using SEM and EDX spectra. The results indicate that the amount of total suspended particles in upwind, mine district, and downwind sites is 95.5, 463.4 and 287.5 µg/m3, respectively. The concentrations of PM2.5 in the three locations are 8.9, 134.7, and 51.8 µg/m3, whereas the PM10 contents are 2.9, 74.4, and 15.5 µg/m3, respectively. These observations point to the impact of mining activities on the concentration of aerosols in the local atmosphere. The values of air quality index also show the probable effects of the mining activities on the health of the local populations, especially for allergic peoples. The average concentration of Zn in the samples collected from the mining district (290 µg/kg) is much higher than its value in the upwind sites (27 µg/kg). The highest concentration of As (70 µg/kg), Cd (10 µg/kg), and Pb (3 µg/kg) is in downwind sites, which shows the negative impact of mining activities on the local air quality. Temporally, the highest concentration of the studied elements is recorded in spring season, especially for PM2.5 collected in downwind stations. Based on the results of SEM and EDX spectra, three groups of minerals, i.e., carbonates, silicates, and sulfides, are present in the aerosol particles, confirming the local source for the aerosols. SEM analyses showed that the aerosol particles with dissimilar chemical composition have different morphologies such as irregular, rounded, elongated, and angular. On the basis of the results, the mining activities in the Angouran Zn–Pb Mine may have various short- and long-term consequences on the public health, especially due to high amount of the finer particles (PM2.5) and the higher concentration of the potentially toxic elements in PM2.5 which can penetrate into the lungs.


Angouran Mine Aerosol Mineralogy Potentially toxic elements 



The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Shahrood University of Technology Research Council for providing the means for this research. Financial support by the Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company (IMPASCO, research project no. 93/D/1601), Zanjan Department of Environment, as well as Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) is highly appreciated.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 13 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Earth SciencesShahrood University of TechnologyShahroodIran
  2. 2.AbadanIran

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