Metal contamination in aquatic species from Africa: ecotoxicological impact of mining activities

Valentin Geslin

The growing need of mineral required by contemporary societies is of concern as it implies the development of mining industries which are one of the main sources of metal contamination in the environment. This thesis deals with the relationship between mining activities, metal contamination in different aquatic organisms, and risk assessment for human health through the consumption of those contaminated species all over the African continent and over a period of more than 40 years. The objective of this research is to highlight the links between mining industries (their location and targeted minerals) with the levels of As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb and Zn contamination in fish and other aquatic species in the surrounding of those mining plants, and to assess the health risks associated to the consumption of those contaminated species for local consumers. The results of this meta-analysis show a significant association between mining activities and the level of metals in aquatic organisms at a continental scale. They also highlight the risk for consumers and the need for more specific monitoring protocols and regulation regarding mining industrial activities.