An assessment of radiological hazards from gold mine tailings in the province of Gauteng in South Africa
MetadataShow full item record
Radiological hazards associated with exposure to Naturally Occurring Radionuclides Materials from gold mine tailings in the province of Gauteng in South Africa were evaluated. A comparison was made with soil samples from a control area. In this study, gamma spectroscopy was used to measure the activity concentrations of these radionuclides in 56 soil samples from the mine tailings and 10 soil samples from the control area. The average activity concentrations in Bq∙kg−1 for Uranium-238, Thorium-232, and Potassium-40 from the mine tailings were found to be 785.3 ± 13.7, 43.9 ± 1.0 and 427.0 ± 13.1, respectively. On the other hand, the average activity concentrations in Bq∙kg−1 for Uranium-238, Thorium-232, and Potassium-40 from the control area were found to be 17.0.1 ± 0.4, 22.2 ± 0.5 and 496.8 ± 15.2, respectively. Radiological hazard parameters calculated from these activity concentrations were higher than recommended safe limits. In particular, calculated average values for the external hazard (Hex) and the internal hazard (Hin) from the mine tailings were found to be 2.4 and 4.5. Both these values were higher than unity, posing a significant health risk to the population in the area.