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Distribution and Speciation of Mercury in Mine Waste Dumps

Abstract

Mine waste dumps of historic mercury mines represent environmental threat. In the central Czech Republic, Hg ores were mined at two sites for more than 150 years. Mine wastes collected from dumps near Hg mines were elevated in total Hg (up to 120 μg g−1). Thermal-desorption method revealed that most of Hg (>80%) in studied waste material was present as cinnabar (HgS), that is relatively stable in soils and resistant to formation of highly toxic methyl–Hg. Nevertheless minor part (<14%) of total Hg was identified as mineral surface bound Hg, which might undergo methylation and thus represents potential long-term environmental risk.

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Acknowledgments

The study was supported by grant No. B300130615, Grant Agency of the Czech Academy of Sciences (ASCR). Long-term financial support for the project was provided by the Institute of Geology of ASCR, project No. AV0Z30130516. We thank to V. Ettler for helpful comments and A. Amirbahman for help with final version of the article.

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Correspondence to Maria Hojdová.

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Hojdová, M., Navrátil, T. & Rohovec, J. Distribution and Speciation of Mercury in Mine Waste Dumps. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 80, 237–241 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-007-9352-y

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Keywords

  • Mercury
  • Mine waste
  • Mercury speciation
  • Thermo-desorption analysis