Assessment of the impact of the Subriso East Rock Dump on ground and surface water quality at Golden Star Wassa Limited

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Acid rock drainage (ARD) has emerged as one of the greatest environmental threats facing the mining industry owing to its characteristic low pH, high acidity and elevated concentrations of metals and sulphate content. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the Subriso East Rock Dump on ground and surface water quality at GSWL. Water samples were collected from deep and shallow monitoring boreholes and surface water within the immediate environs of the rock dump and analysed. Overall, surface water sampled was slightly acidic most especially the upstream point. For groundwater, the majority of the shallow monitoring boreholes were also slightly acidic. The deep monitoring boreholes were near neutral and within WHO (2006)/GSB (2009) acceptable range for drinking water. EC, CaCO3, TDS, and SO4 for the deep, shallow and surface water within the study area were below their respective WHO (2006)/GSB (2009) permissible limits. Statistically, there was no significant difference between the deep monitoring boreholes around the waste rock dump and the reference point (BRMB-01A). The same trend was depicted by the shallow monitoring boreholes. However, there was significant variation between the upstream point (SW-SE-07) and downstream points (TS-SE-01 and TS-SE-02) for EC, CaCO3, TDS, and SO4. Heavy metal concentrations in surface, deep and shallow monitoring boreholes were generally very low and below their respective WHO (2006)/GSB (2009) permissible limits. SEMB-02B and SEMB-03B (shallow boreholes) and all the surface water samples had Mn and Fe concentrations above the WHO (2006)/GSB (2009). All the deep boreholes also had Mn concentrations exceeding the above standards. Nonetheless, statistically, there were not significant differences amongst the various sampling points and their respective reference points. Cd, Pb and Ag were not detected. Although high concentrations of Fe and Mn were recorded in some sampling points, the differences were not significant (p ≥ 0.05). In brief, it can be concluded that, no significant impacts existed that could be attributed to the SE rock dump.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical & Applied Biology, College of Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science