Environmental Earth Sciences

, 78:645 | Cite as

Evaluation of toxic metal(loid)s concentration in soils around an open-cast coal mine (Eastern India)

  • Deep Raj
  • Adarsh KumarEmail author
  • Subodh Kumar Maiti
Original Article


Open-cast coal-mining activities release a substantial amount of potentially toxic metal(loid)s or metals which contaminates soil in its vicinity. A total of 75 soil samples were collected from an open-cast coal-mining area (North Karanpura area, India), representatives of five land-use sites, namely roadside soil (RSS), reclaimed mine soil (RMS), forest soil (FS), residential land soil (RS), and agricultural soil (AS) from three profiles (0–10, 10–20, and 20–30 cm). The samples were analyzed for five USEPA recognized potentially toxic metals, mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), and lead (Pb). Ecological and health risks were assessed to study the impact of metals pollution on ecological ecosystem and children. Hg concentrations were found above the maximum permissible limit and highest in RSS (0.90 mg kg−1) which was 13-, 12-, and 4-fold higher than AS, RS, and FS, respectively. Among all soil samples, a high concentration of Hg was found in topsoil profile (0–10 cm) which indicates anthropogenic sources of Hg due to coal dust deposition and transport activities in the mining region. In addition, the increased concentration of Cd was also observed for most of the sites (RSS: 1.35 mg kg−1; RMS: 1.25 mg kg−1). For all the metals in all the sites, the concentration decreased along the depth. Contamination factor and ecological risk index suggested that roadside and reclaimed area had very high ecological risk due to major contribution of Hg and As contamination in soil. The pollution load index was also found to be very high from the threshold limit, which suggests the possibility of transfer of contaminant from soil to children in coming future, and causes severe health risk.


Coal mining Metals Mercury Cadmium Ecological risk Health risk 



The authors are grateful to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines), Dhanbad for providing research fellowship and necessary laboratory facilities for conducting the research. AK also acknowledges his work support by Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (Agreement No 02.A03.21.0006).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12665_2019_8657_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 29 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Center of Mining EnvironmentIndian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines)DhanbadIndia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biotechnology, Department of Experimental Biology and Biotechnology, Institute of Natural Sciences and MathematicsUral Federal UniversityEkaterinburgRussia

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