Environmental Assessment of Acid Mine Drainage Pollution on Surface Water Bodies around Ngwenya Mine, Swaziland


Twenty-three water samples and three “yellow boy” samples were obtained from different water bodies located at the foot of the Ngwenya Mountain on top of which the old Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine is located. The samples were analysed for pH, electrical conductivity (EC), redox potential (ORP) and temperature (T). The dominant Fe species was determined using a UV-VIS spectrophotometer. Selected anions namely: halogens (F-, Br-, Cl-), the nutrients (NO2-,NO3-,PO43-) and the best indicator for AMD pollution (SO42-) were analysed using Ion Chromatography (IC) while the selected heavy metals, namely: Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Co, Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd were analysed using Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (FAAS). The physico-chemical parameters ranges obtained were pH (6.32 - 8.63), EC (11.00 - 585.33 μS/cm), ORP (-93.67 - 79.33 mV) and T (7.60°C - 18.57°C). The levels of the Fe species (ppm) in the water samples were Fe2+ (0.56 - 3.17) and Fe3+ (0.00 - 0.73). Measured mean anion ranges in ppm were F- (0.00 - 0.15), Cl- (1.5 - 11.19),

Share and Cite:

A. Fadiran, C. Dlamini and J. Thwala, "Environmental Assessment of Acid Mine Drainage Pollution on Surface Water Bodies around Ngwenya Mine, Swaziland," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 5 No. 2, 2014, pp. 164-173. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.52020.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] C. L. Dlamini, A. O. Fadiran and J. M. Thwala, “A Study of Environmental Assessment of Acid Mine Drainage in Ngwenya, Swaziland,” Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4, No. 11B, 2013, pp. 20-26.
[2] http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jep.2013.411B003
[3] S. R. Jennings, D. R. Neuman and P. S. Blicker, “Acid Mine Drainage and Effects on Fish Health and Ecology: A Review,” Reclamation Research Group Publication, Bozeman, 2008.
[4] R. F. Fuggle and M. A Rabie. “Environmental Management in South Africa,” Juta & Co., Ltd., Cape Town, 2000.
[5] M. Gosar, “Environmental Impacts of Metal Mining,” RMZ-Materials and Geoenvironment, Vol. 51, No 4, 2004, pp. 2097-2107.
[6] S. Bega, “No Mine Dump Far Enough, No Corporate Big Enough, by Mariette Liefferink,” FSE Press, 2011.
[7] A. E. Meadows and A. A. Carpenter, “Acid Mine Drainage and Groundwater Pollution,” Groundwater Pollution Primer, CE 4594: Soil and Groundqwater Pollution. Civil Engineering Department, Virginia Tech., 1997.
[8] BC Wild and EMCBC, “Acid Mine Drainage: Water and Water Pollution Issues in BC,” Environmental Mining Council of British Columbia, Canada.
[9] M. Gebrekidan and Z. Samuel, (MEJS), “Concentrations of Heavy metals in Drinking Water from Urban Areas of the Tigray Region, Northern Ethiopia,” Mekelle University, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2011, pp. 105-121.
[10] R. S. Lokhande, P. U. Singare and D. S. Pimple, “Pollution in Water of Kasardi River Flowing along Taloja Industrial Area of Mumbai, India,” World Environment, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2011, pp. 6-13.
[11] E. G. Regis, “Assessment of the Effects of Acid Mine Drainage on Mogpog River Ecosystem, Marinduque, Phillippines, and Possible Impacts on Human Communities,” Ph.D. Dissertation, 2006.
[12] Wikipedia, “Acid Mine Drainage,” 2002
[13] D. K. Niyogi, W. M. Lewis Jr., and D. M. McKnight, “Effects of Stress from Mine Drainage on Diversity, Biomass and Functions of Primary Producers in Mountain Streams,” Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, 2002
[14] H. Tutu, E. M. Cukrowska, V. Dohnal and J. Havel, “Application of Artificial Neural Networks for Classification of Uranium Distribution in the Central Rand Goldfield, South Africa, and Assessment,” Environmental Modelling, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2005, pp. 143-152.
[15] http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10666-005-0214-x
[16] E. U. Etim and G. U. Adie, “Assessment of Toxic Heavy Metal Loading in Topsoil Samples within the Vicinity of a Limestone Quarry in South Western Nigeria,” African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 6, No. 8, 2012, pp. 322-330.
[17] Tuberose, “Heavy Metal Toxicity,”
[18] www.Tuberose.com/Heavy_Metal_Toxicity.html
[19] M. Jopony and F. Tongkul, “Acid Mine Drainage at Mamut Copper Mine, Sabah, Malaysia,” School of Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, 2009.
[20] M. C. Jung, J. S. Ahn and H. Chon, “Environmental Contamination and Sequential Extraction of Trace Elements from Mine Wastes around Various Metalliferous Mines in Korea,” Geosystem Engineering, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2001, pp. 50-60.
[21] http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/12269328.2001.10541168
[22] E. Galan, M. I. Carretero and J. C. Fernandez-Caliani, “Effects of Acid Mine Drainage on Clay Minerals Suspended in the Tinto River (Rio Tinto, Spain). An Experimental Approach,” Clay Minerals, Vol. 34, No. 1, 1999, pp. 99-108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1180/000985599546118
[23] J. Earle and T. Callaghan, “Impacts of Mine Drainage on Aquatic Life, Water Uses and Man-Made Structures,” Department of Environmental Protection, Harrisburg, 1994.
[24] Central Statistical Office of Swaziland, “Population for Selected Areas around Ekupheleni (Ngwenya Mine) by Sex,” 2007.
[25] L. Donnely, “No Quick Fix for Acid Mine Drainage,” Mail and Guardian, 2011.
[26] Wikipedia, “Acid Mine Drainage,” 2002.
[27] J. M. Bigham, O. H. Tuovinen, K. S. Brady and T. J. Logan, “Iron Speciation in Acid Mine Effluents: Chemical and Microbial Controls,” Department of Agronomy and Microbiology, The Ohio State university, Columbus, 1984.
[28] C. Afriyie-Debrah, K. Obiri-Danso and J. H. Ephriam, “Effect of Acid Mine Drainage on Creeks or Streams in a Mining Community in Ghana and Treatment Options,” 2010 International Conference on Environmental Engineering and Applications (ICEEA), 10-12 September 2010, pp. 285-290.
[29] E. Mswane, “Determination of Levels of Inorganic Anions in Water and Sediments of the Black Mbuluzi River along the Mhlume-Simunye Sugar Plantations in Swaziland,” M.Sc. Final Year Research Report, University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni, 2007.
[30] N. F. Gray, “Water Quality Problems and Solutions,” John Wiley, New York, 1994, pp. 118-132.
[31] A. D. O’Sullivan, R. Conlon, B. Moran and M. Otte, “Characterisation of Constructed Wetland Substrates by Chemical Sequential Extraction and X-Ray Diffraction Analyses,” Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 105B, No. 2, 2005, pp. 87-94.
[32] http://dx.doi.org/10.3318/BIOE.2005.105.2.87
[33] A. Concas, C. Ardau, A. Cristini, P. Zuddas and G. Cao, “Mobility of Heavy Metals from Tailings to Stream Waters in a Mining Activity Contaminated Site,” Chemosphere, Vol. 63, No. 2, 2006, pp. 244-253.
[34] http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.08.024
[35] S. Singh, S. Lal, J. Harjit, S. Amlathe and H. C. Kataria, “Potential of Metal Extractants in Determination of Trace Metals in Water Sample,” Advanced Studies in Biology, Vol. 3, No. 5, 2011, pp. 239-246.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.