Aspects of air and surface water pollution in the mining areas of Tarkwa

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Environmental issues have assumed unprecedented prominence the world over the past few years as a result of environmental pollution. Years of neglect or indifference to environmental aspect on mineral exploitation and other industrial activities have brought in their wake substantial problems in many countries, including Ghana. Effects of mining on the environment axe two fold; firstly there are direct effects arising from mining as a physical activity, which include disturbance of the land surface and accumulation of waste. Secondly, there are indirect deleterious effects resulting from the treatment of mineral products, such as ore processing, smelting and other metallurgical processes. These frequently result in contamination of soil and groundwater, pollution of the atmosphere and an adverse effect on vegetation and wildlife. Given that most of the mining industries In Ghana are concentrated in the Tarkwa District, the pollution of air and water bodies in the district cannot be ruled out since the production and processing of minerals interacts extensively with the environment. It is against this background that this research is being undertaken to determine the extent of air and surface water pollution in the mining areas of Tarkwa. Air pollution in the ambient was fairly and accurately determined by means of chemical analysis of monthly rain water samples collected from a dust deposit gauge installed at U.S.T School OF Mines, Tarkwa. Surface water pollution was also determined by means of chemical analysis of bi-monthly water samples collected from streams around the mining companies into which their mine effluent flow. Two large scale mining companies, Goldfields Ghana Limited (Tarkwa Mine) and Ghana National Manganese Corporation (G.N.M.C) and two small scale mining companies, Modern Electrical Works and Dakete Mining Company went chosen in this wise. Water sample collected analyzed for pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, total suspended solids and a few base metals. The results indicated the following: - the extent of air pollution was found to be minimal or negligible. - some level of pollution of streams into which effluents from some mining companies flow, was detected. This calls for the introduction of more stringent measures to monitor and regulate mining activities in the Tarkwa District.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Postgraduate (Professional) Diploma in Mining Engineering, 1993