Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 17, pp 13442–13452 | Cite as

Binding intensity and metal partitioning in soils affected by mining and smelting activities in Minas Gerais, Brazil

  • G. Lopes
  • E. T. S. Costa
  • E. S. Penido
  • D. L. Sparks
  • L. R. G. GuilhermeEmail author
Research Article


Mining and smelting activities are potential sources of heavy metal contamination, which pose a threat to human health and ecological systems. This study investigated single and sequential extractions of Zn, Pb, and Cd in Brazilian soils affected by mining and smelting activities. Soils from a Zn mining area (soils A, B, C, D, E, and the control soil) and a tailing from a smelting area were collected in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The samples were subjected to single (using Mehlich I solution) and sequential extractions. The risk assessment code (RAC), the redistribution index (U ts ), and the reduced partition index (I R ) have been applied to the sequential extraction data. Zinc and Cd, in soil samples from the mining area, were found mainly associated with carbonate forms. This same pattern did not occur for Pb. Moreover, the Fe-Mn oxides and residual fractions had important contributions for Zn and Pb in those soils. For the tailing, more than 70 % of Zn and Cd were released in the exchangeable fraction, showing a much higher mobility and availability of these metals at this site, which was also supported by results of RAC and I R . These differences in terms of mobility might be due to different chemical forms of the metals in the two sites, which are attributable to natural occurrence as well as ore processing.


Soil/tailing contamination Extractions Speciation Mobility Indexes Smelting Minas Gerais Brazil 



First at all, we would like to thank Federal University of Lavras and University of Delaware, where this research has been performed. The authors thank Fapemig, Capes, and CNPq for financial support. Also, we would like to acknowledge CNPq for providing the scholarship to the first author in order to conduct part of this research at the University of Delaware, DE, USA (project 201703/2012-2).

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that this article has no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Lopes
    • 1
  • E. T. S. Costa
    • 2
  • E. S. Penido
    • 1
  • D. L. Sparks
    • 3
  • L. R. G. Guilherme
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceFederal University of LavrasLavrasBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Agricultural SciencesFederal University of UberlandiaMonte CarmeloBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Delaware Environmental InstituteUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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