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Rare Earth Elements in Soil on Spoil Heap of an Abandoned Lead Ore Treatment Plant in the District of Mfouati, Congo-brazzaville

Author Affiliations

  • 1 Department of Exact Sciences, ENS, University Marien Ngouabi, P.O. Box 69, BRAZZAVILLE-CONGO,
  • 2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University Marien Ngouabi, P.O. Box 69, BRAZZAVILLE-CONGO
  • 3
  • 4

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 1, Issue (2), Pages 33-40, September,22 (2012)


The aim of this study was to assess the vertical migration of rare earth elements (REE) in a soil profile. Rare earth elements, reference elements (Ti, Fe, Mn and Al) and soil characteristics (pH, organic matter, sulphate and granulometry) of a soil profile on spoil heap were measured in 54 soil samples divided into five composite samples at different depths: 15-45 cm, 45-75 cm, 75-105 cm, 105-135 cm and 135-150 cm. The first 15 cm of the top layer contained an accumulation of ore were not sampled. Low rare earth elements (LREE) and high rare earth elements (HREE) contents in the soil profile decreased from 91.74 to 14.06 mg/kg and 9.01 to 4.05 mg/kg, respectively. High positive correlations were observed between REE fractionation and organic matter, sulfate and the reference elements in the studied soil profile. A high soil acidity promotes the REE fractionation. The chondrite-normalized REE patterns in the soil profile were characterized by LREE enrichment and negative anomalies of cerium and terbium, which are mainly controlled by complexing with sulphate and organic matter, adsorption on Fe/Mn oxyhydroxydes and clay minerals.


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