Water Quality, Exposure and Health

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 37–49 | Cite as

Assessment of Heavy Metals Contamination in Stream Water and Sediments Affected by the Sungun Porphyry Copper Deposit, East Azerbaijan Province, Northwest Iran

  • Farid Moore
  • Kobra EsmaeiliEmail author
  • Behnam Keshavarzi


In recent decades, people attention to preservation of environment has increased which affected the mining plans and activities. Sungun Porphyry Copper Deposit is located Northwest of Iran. In this study, environmental impact of copper mining in the Sungun region was assessed using physicochemical, hydrochemical and geochemical properties of water and sediment. In May 2009, 87 samples including water and sediment were collected from the 44 sampling stations along the Sungunchay, Ilginechay, Zarnekabchay and Khuinerud Streams near the deposit. The degree of heavy metal contamination in water and sediment samples was calculated by the ratio of the metal concentration to the local background and global standards. Also, the relation between the elements in water and sediment samples was investigated using correlation coefficients analysis and factor analysis. The results show that concentration of selected heavy metals (copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc and nickel) exceeds the maximum allowable concentrations in both water and sediment. However, among the analyzed heavy metals, Cu and Mo have more enrichment in water and sediments rather than the others. Mean values of the pollution load indices of heavy metals in the sediment samples decrease in the following order: Sungunchay, Ilginechay, Zarnekabchay and Khuinerud Streams. The results of multivariate analyses indicate that heavy metals in the water samples have similar behavior (except for Mo) during transportation in the riverine environment. Also in the sediment samples, Cu and Mo are associated with Fe, whereas Pb, Zn and Ni correlated with Mn. These results are also in agreement with the calculated pollution indices.


Sungun porphyry copper deposit Environmental assessment Heavy metal contamination Factor analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farid Moore
    • 1
  • Kobra Esmaeili
    • 1
    Email author
  • Behnam Keshavarzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, College of SciencesShiraz UniversityShirazIran

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