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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 732519, 12 pages
Research Article

Trace Metal Content of Sediments Close to Mine Sites in the Andean Region

1Grup de Recerca en Cooperació i Desenvolupament Humà (GRECDH), Departament d'Enginyeria Química, ETSEIB, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Avenida Diagonal 647, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
2GRECDH-LaCÁN, Departament de Matemàtica Aplicada 3, ETSECCPB, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Jordi Girona 1-3, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
3Departament d'Enginyeria Química, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Avenida Diagonal 647, Edifici H Planta 4a, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Received 28 October 2011; Accepted 29 November 2011

Academic Editors: T. Brock, G.-C. Fang, and K. Kannan

Copyright © 2012 Cristina Yacoub et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study is a preliminary examination of heavy metal pollution in sediments close to two mine sites in the upper part of the Jequetepeque River Basin, Peru. Sediment concentrations of Al, As, Cd, Cu, Cr, Fe, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sn, and Zn were analyzed. A comparative study of the trace metal content of sediments shows that the highest concentrations are found at the closest points to the mine sites in both cases. The sediment quality analysis was performed using the threshold effect level of the Canadian guidelines (TEL). The sediment samples analyzed show that potential ecological risk is caused frequently at both sites by As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, and Zn. The long-term influence of sediment metals in the environment is also assessed by sequential extraction scheme analysis (SES). The availability of metals in sediments is assessed, and it is considered a significant threat to the environment for As, Cd, and Sb close to one mine site and Cr and Hg close to the other mine site. Statistical analysis of sediment samples provides a characterization of both subbasins, showing low concentrations of a specific set of metals and identifies the main characteristics of the different pollution sources. A tentative relationship between pollution sources and possible ecological risk is established.