Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 389

Full Length Research Paper

Evaluating the influence of open cast mining of solid minerals on soil, landuse and livelihood systems in selected areas of Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria

Ezeaku, Peter Ikemefuna
  Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 21 December 2011
  •  Published: 28 February 2012

Abstract

The study was conducted on soils of selected mining areas in Nasarawa State, North Central Nigeria to assess the environmental impact of open cast mining of coal and Baryte minerals. These entailed a survey of twenty four farm households, while soils, minespoils and water were collected and subjected to standard laboratory analyses. The results showed that soils around the mine sites were coarse textured, acidic with pH of 4.8, have high bulk density as evidenced on the hardness of the soil and load content of basic cations. Minespoils were found to be strongly acidic with a pH of 3.5, coarse textured, high organic matter content and low contents of basic cations. The high organic matter content if properly managed will enhance soil aggregation. However, the high contents of iron, copper, cyanide, and sulfate may have caused adverse effect on the soil ecosystem hence unsustainability of plants life. Water resources are polluted with high contents of acidity (pH 4.20), lead (0.23 mg/L), iron (0.6 mg/L), cyanide (0.7 mg/L), and nitrate (32 mg/L). The effluents from the mines caused water hardness (33.67 mg/L). The cumulative effects of the pollution loads on the soil and water resources affected the landuses in the host communities. Consequently, soil reclamation for farming purposes, establishment of water shed protection programme and provision of portable pipe-borne water, among others, were recommended as intervention measures.

 

Key words: Livelihood systems, landuse, mining, Nigeria.