Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 29, pp 28961–28972 | Cite as

The impact of wetland on neutral mine drainage from mining wastes at Luanshya in the Zambian Copperbelt in the framework of climate change

  • Ondra Sracek
  • Bohdan Kříbek
  • Martin Mihaljevič
  • Vojtěch Ettler
  • Aleš Vaněk
  • Vít Penížek
  • Jan Filip
  • František Veselovský
  • Imasiku Nyambe
Research Article


The impact of a natural wetland (“dambo” in Zambia) on neutral mine drainage at Luanshya in the Zambian Copperbelt has been investigated during an intermediate discharge period (July) using a multi-method characterization of solid phase samples, sequential extraction analysis, X-ray diffraction, Mössbauer spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy combined with water analyses, isotopic analyses, and geochemical modeling. In the wetland, the principal identified solid phases in sediments were carbonates, gypsum, and ferric oxyhydroxides. A significant portion of the ochres was present as insoluble hematite. Mine drainage pH values decrease, and log \( {P}_{{\mathrm{CO}}_2} \) values increase after inflow of water into the wetland; dissolved and suspended concentrations of Fe, Mn, Cu, and Co also decrease. Based on speciation calculations, there is no precipitation of secondary Cu and Co minerals in the period of sampling, but it can occur later in dry period when the flow rate is reduced. Concentrations of sulfate decrease, and values of δ34S(SO4) in the wetland increase in parallel, suggesting sulfate reduction is occurring. In more advanced dry period, the discharge in mine drainage stream is probably much lower and water can reach supersaturation with respect to minerals such as gypsum, which has been found in sediments. Wetlands have a positive impact on mine drainage water quality due to the removal of metals by adsorption, co-precipitation, and filtration of colloids. However, there can also be a rebound of contamination by seepage inflow downstream from the wetland. Ongoing climate change with extreme hydrologic events may enhance differences between dry and rainy seasons with resulting faster mobilization of contaminants.


Neutral mine drainage Ochres Wetland Adsorption Climate change Zambia 



The authors also acknowledge the assistance provided by the Research Infrastructure NanoEnviCz, supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic under project no. LM2015073. Part of the equipment used for this study was purchased under the Operational Programme Prague – Competitiveness (Project CZ.2.16/3.1.00/21516). This study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation project (16-13142S) and projects no. LM2015073 and institutional funding from the Center for Geosphere Dynamics (UNCE/SCI/006). The authors thank the journal editor and anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ondra Sracek
    • 1
  • Bohdan Kříbek
    • 2
  • Martin Mihaljevič
    • 3
  • Vojtěch Ettler
    • 3
  • Aleš Vaněk
    • 4
  • Vít Penížek
    • 4
  • Jan Filip
    • 5
  • František Veselovský
    • 2
  • Imasiku Nyambe
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Geology, Faculty of SciencePalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Czech Geological SurveyPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Mineral Resources, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural ResourcesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6Czech Republic
  5. 5.Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and MaterialsPalacky UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  6. 6.Department of Geology, School of MinesUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia

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