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Assessing the Impact of Gold Mining on the Quality of Water Resources in the Commune of Meguet, Burkina Faso

DOI: 10.4236/jwarp.2024.164016, PP. 281-292

Keywords: Gold Panning, Water Quality, Trace Metal, Méguet, Burkina Faso

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Abstract:

Despite its often illegal nature, artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso contributes to the economic and social development of the country. However, the rudimentary techniques used in gold panning have a significant impact on the environment due to inappropriate practices and the use of various chemical substances. This study aims to assess the impact of artisanal gold mining on the quality of water resources in a rural community at Méguet, Burkina Faso. To this end, surface and groundwater samples were collected and analyzed at the BUMIGEB laboratory. Field results show that the waters are slightly alkaline (6.97 < pH < 8.1), weakly mineralized and conductive (124 < EC < 543 μS/cm), with temperatures ranging from 24.6˚C to 31.6˚C. In addition, trace metals (TMEs) analyzed from surface and subsurface waters show very high levels, generally deviating from the levels recommended by WHO guidelines for Burkina Faso. Trace metals contamination of water resources in the commune of Méguet is mainly due to Fe (3.78 - 11.12 mg/kg), Hg (0.03 - 0.29 mg/kg), As (0.01- 6.31 mg/kg) and Pb (0.01 - 3.8 mg/kg). This study can serve as a basis for guiding national environmental policies to protect the water resources of the Méguet mine.

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