GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2008, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (1): 201-212.doi: 10.11821/yj2008010022

• Environment and Ecology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Regional distribution of arsenic contained minerals and arsenic pollution in China

XIAO Xi-yuan, CHEN Tong-bin, LIAO Xiao-yong, WU Bin, YAN Xiu-lan, ZHAI Li-mei, XIE Hua, WANG Li-xia   

  1. Center for Environmental Remediation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101,China
  • Received:2007-03-23 Revised:2007-08-14 Online:2008-01-25 Published:2008-01-25
  • Supported by:

    国家杰出青年科学基金 (40325003)


Arsenic reserves, mineral resources distribution and arsenic mining induced environmental pollution in China were analyzed. The known arsenic reserves were 3977 kt, and preserved reserves were 2796 kt,of which 87.1% existed in paragenetic or associated ores up to the end of 2003. The total arsenic preserved reserves owned by the provinces including Guangxi, Yunnan and Hunan accounted for 58.0% of the country's total reserves. Moreover, the arsenic preserved reserves in Nandan County, Guangxi Province and Gejiu County, Yunnan province accounted for 17.0% and 10.2% of the total reserves in China, respectively. Large amount of arsenic had been released to the environment in the process of mining and utilizing ore deposits. Up to 2003, the mined amount of arsenic reached 1392 kt in China. The exploited quantity of arsenic in Guangxi, Yunnan and Hunan provinces was 733,342 and 153 kt, respectively, so the environmental arsenic pollution in those areas was at high risk. The amount of arsenic discharged in the form of mining tailings accounted for about 70% of the total mined. A lot of arsenic pollution events had shown that the arsenic sources released from mining, smelting, and processing threatened people's health through contaminated soils, foods and atmosphere. Furthermore, the arsenic calamities often took place in Southwest China where there were rich arsenic resources and intense mining activities.

Key words: arsenic, mineral resources, reserves, distribution, pollution