Hydrogeochemistry in mining of the Bolivian Altiplano and its implications on the mobilization, transport of the trace elements
Project Leader(s): Prosun Bhattacharya, PhD student
Participants: Roger Thunvik and Jochen Bundschuh (KTH); Jorge Quintanilla and Maria Eugenia Garcia (UMSA).
Keywords: Trace elements, Bolivian Altiplano, Poopó Basin
Project period: June 2007 – December 2012
Funding: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in Bolivia (Sida Contribution: 7500707606)
Bolivian Altiplano have large mineral resources, these are being exploited from the colonial era to present. Actually, there are many companies along the Eastern Cordillera and the floodplain and especially around Oruro city and in its vicinity (Huanuni, Poopó and Bolivar). Many of them are transnational while others are national companies recovering the polymetallics (Ag, Au, Pb, Sn, Sb and Zn) ore deposits at big scale, but also medium and small scale.
These activities have impacted the biotic and abiotic systems and the consequences have been release of high concentrations of trace elements into the biogeochemical cycles, spreading it out into the surface water, groundwater and soils. There are few efforts to remediation programs to mitigate these environmental impacts and avoid the generations of acid mining drainage (AMD) and acid rock drainage (ARD).
The main objective was to improve the understanding of what processes govern the mobilization and transport of trace elements from soils to groundwater in mining and semi-arid zones by using study areas at large scale (Poopó Basin) and small scale (sub-basin/municipality).