Pollution Assessment of Heavy Metals in Soils and Plants around a Molybdenum Mine in Central China
Zhangxiong Han 1, 2  
Dejun Wan 3  
Haixia Tian 1  
Wenxiang He 1  
Ziquan Wang 1  
Qiang Liu 2  
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College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F university, Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Agro-environment in Northwest China, Ministry of Agriculture, Yangling, Shaanxi, China
Provincial Key Laboratory of Mineral Exploration and Utilization, Shaanxi, Xi’an Testing and Quality Supervision Center for Geological and Mineral Products, Ministry of Land and Resources, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
Institute of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Shijiazhuang, China
Wenxiang He   

College of natural resources and environment, Northwest A&F university, Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Agro-environment in Northwest China, Ministry of Agriculture
Online publish date: 2018-08-01
Publish date: 2018-11-20
Submission date: 2017-11-16
Final revision date: 2018-01-08
Acceptance date: 2018-01-22
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2019;28(1):123–133
Although environmental problems caused by metal mining have become increasingly prominent, the pollution by associated heavy metals is easily neglected. In general, molybdenum mines are lowgrade and hence the high level of associated heavy metals easily causes pollution in the surrounding areas. Here we investigated the total concentrations and forms of Mo and associated Cu, Cd, Pb, and Zn in soils under different land-use types (barren, wheat, rape, and apple-seedling fields) and different plants (cultivated crops and wild wormwood) around an abandoned molybdenum tailings site. The results showed that the average total concentrations of Cu and Zn in farmland bulk soils around the site exceeded the level II standard of the National Environmental Quality Standard for Soils in China, the average Cd and Pb concentrations exceeded the level III standard, and the average Mo concentration exceeds the soil background value in Shaanxi Province. The percentages of available heavy metals in wormwood and seedling rhizosphere soils were significantly higher than those in crop rhizosphere soils. Heavy metals mainly accumulated in the roots of plants tested in this study. The Cu, Cd, and Pb concentrations in wormwood exceeded the limits of these metals in general plants. The Cd and Pb pollution indices of corn at the side of the barren land were 3.12 and 2.48, respectively, and the Pb pollution index of rape was 3.42, according to the standard limit of pollutants in food for China. On the basis of the level III standard, the pollution assessment of soils revealed serious pollution of the barren land and wheat fields, and moderate pollution of the rape and seedling fields. This study indicates that the heavy metals associated with the molybdenum mine have polluted the surrounding soils and plants, of which pollution of the barren land is the most serious.