Soil heavy metal pollution and risk assessment associated with the Zn-Pb mining region in Yunnan, Southwest China

  • Xianfeng Cheng
  • Tomas Danek
  • Jarmila Drozdova
  • Qianrui Huang
  • Wufu Qi
  • Liling Zou
  • Shuran Yang
  • Xinliang Zhao
  • Yungang Xiang


The environmental assessment and identification of sources of heavy metals in Zn-Pb ore deposits are important steps for the effective prevention of subsequent contamination and for the development of corrective measures. The concentrations of eight heavy metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn) in soils from 40 sampling points around the Jinding Zn-Pb mine in Yunnan, China, were analyzed. An environmental quality assessment of the obtained data was performed using five different contamination and pollution indexes. Statistical analyses were performed to identify the relations among the heavy metals and the pH in soils and possible sources of pollution. The concentrations of As, Cd, Pb, and Zn were extremely high, and 23, 95, 25, and 35% of the samples, respectively, exceeded the heavy metal limits set in the Chinese Environmental Quality Standard for Soils (GB15618-1995, grade III). According to the contamination and pollution indexes, environmental risks in the area are high or extremely high. The highest risk is represented by Cd contamination, the median concentration of which exceeds the GB15618-1995 limit. Based on the combination of statistical analyses and geostatistical mapping, we identified three groups of heavy metals that originate from different sources. The main sources of As, Cd, Pb, Zn, and Cu are mining activities, airborne particulates from smelters, and the weathering of tailings. The main sources of Hg are dust fallout and gaseous emissions from smelters and tailing dams. Cr and Ni originate from lithogenic sources.


Heavy metals Soil contamination Pollution indexes Environmental risk assessment Multivariate analysis Spatial distribution 



All sources of funding of the study should be disclosed. Please clearly indicate grants that you have received in support of your research work. Clearly state if you received funds for covering the costs to publish in open access. Financial support from the Department of Land Resources of Yunnan Province of China (Grant No.Yun Land Resources Scientific 2013-1) is gratefully acknowledged. This publication has been financially supported by the Moravian-Silesian Region within the project Support of VŠB-TUO activities with China. We are particularly grateful to Lanping County Land Resources Bureau and Yunnan Jinding Zinc Industry Limited Company for help with field work. This paper was prepared within the framework of the project LO1404: Sustainable development of ENET Centre.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xianfeng Cheng
    • 1
  • Tomas Danek
    • 2
  • Jarmila Drozdova
    • 2
  • Qianrui Huang
    • 1
  • Wufu Qi
    • 1
  • Liling Zou
    • 1
  • Shuran Yang
    • 1
  • Xinliang Zhao
    • 1
  • Yungang Xiang
    • 1
  1. 1.Yunnan Land and Resources Vocational CollegeKunmingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.VSB – Technical University of OstravaOstrava-PorubaCzech Republic

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