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Mobility of copper and cobalt in metalliferous ecosystems: Results of a lysimeter study in the Lubumbashi Region (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Abstract : This paper presents the results of a lysimeter experiment in which a forest soil has been artificially spiked with rock fragments from natural copper (Cu) and cobalt (Co)-hills from Tenke-Fungurume (Democratic Republic of Congo). The Cu and Co contents of the percolating water have been analysed at repeated intervals and the impact of rock on the soil properties was evaluated at the end of the experiment. Five rocks were sampled in one copper hill. In natural conditions, these rock fragments located on the top of the hill are mixed to surface soil horizon along the slope through colluvial processes. The Cu and Co contents in rocks range respectively between 470 mg/kg (siliceous rock) and 140,000 mg/kg (shale) and between 450 mg/kg (dolostone) and 5300 mg/kg (shale). Rock fragments were mixed with two horizons (hemi-organic A with 2.7% total organic carbon (TOC), and mineral B with 0.3% TOC) of an acid (pH water < 4.5) acrisol under forest. The mixture was placed in 1 L lysimeters and left in Lubumbashi ex situ conditions during the rainy season. Percolating water was collected for six periods after and the Cu and Co contents have been analysed. At the end of the experiment, soil from the lysimeter was removed for pH, TOC, available nutrients and trace elements, CaCl2-extractable Cu and Co analysis. The results show great differences between Cu and Co releases in the percolating solutions according to the nature of the rocks. The quantities released were correlated to the concentrations originally present in the unweathered rocks. Differences were also found between the A and B horizons, which indicate that the physicochemical properties of the soil influence reaction with the rocks. The differences between both horizons are mainly organic carbon content, cationic exchange capacity and nutrient content, which were higher in the A horizon. However, the pH of the A horizon was acidic compared with the B horizon. Significant correlations were found between extractable Cu and Co with concentrations of their leaching solution. Because of this, soluble Cu and Co extracted by CaCl2 can be regarded as vertical transfer risk prediction tools of Cu and Co in the soil.
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Donato Kaya Muyumba, Olivier Pourret, Amandine Liénard, Jessica Bonhoure, Gregory Mahy, et al.. Mobility of copper and cobalt in metalliferous ecosystems: Results of a lysimeter study in the Lubumbashi Region (Democratic Republic of Congo). Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Elsevier, 2019, 196, pp.208-218. ⟨10.1016/j.gexplo.2018.10.013⟩. ⟨hal-02136357⟩



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