Identification of environmental lead sources and pathways in a mining and smelting town

Mount Isa, Australia

A. K. Mackay, M. P. Taylor*, N. C. Munksgaard, K. A. Hudson-Edwards, L. Burn-Nunes

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    75 Citations (Scopus)


    Lead (Pb) concentrations and isotopic compositions from soils, dusts and aerosols from public land and residential lots adjacent to the copper and Pb mine and smelter at Mount Isa, Australia, were examined to understand the sources and risks of environmental Pb exposure. Urban soil samples contain elevated Pb concentrations (mean 1560 mg/kg), of which 45-85% of the Pb is bioaccessible. The Pb isotopic composition of surface soils (0-2 cm), aerosols and dusts (206Pb/207Pb, 208Pb/207Pb range: 1.049, 2.322-1.069, 2.345) are dominated by Pb derived from the Mount Isa Pb-zinc ore bodies. Underlying soil horizons (10-20 cm) have distinctly different Pb isotopic compositions (206Pb/207Pb, 208Pb/207Pb range: 1.093, 2.354 -1.212, 2.495). Surface soil-, dust- and aerosol-Pb are derived predominantly from smelter emissions and fugitive mining sources and not from in situ weathered bedrock. Remediation strategies should target legacy and ongoing sources of environmental Pb to mitigate the problem of Pb exposure at Mount Isa.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)304-311
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of environmental lead sources and pathways in a mining and smelting town: Mount Isa, Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this