Public exposure to hazards associated with natural radioactivity in open-pit mining in Ghana

E. O Darko, A Faanu, A. R Awudu, G Emi Reynolds, J Yeboah, O. C Oppon and E. H. K. Akaho

Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 2010, 138(1), 45-51. DOI: 10.1093/rpd/ncp181

Abstract

The results of studies carried out on public exposure contribution from naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMS) in two open-pit mines in the Western and Ashanti regions of Ghana are reported. The studies were carried out under International Atomic Energy Agency-supported Technical Co-operation Project GHA/9/005. Measurements were made on samples of water, soil, ore, mine tailings and air using gamma spectrometry. Solid-state nuclear track detectors were used for radon concentration measurements. Survey was also carried out to determine the ambient gamma dose rate in the vicinity of the mines and surrounding areas. The effective doses due to external gamma irradiation, ingestion of water and inhalation of radon and ore dusts were calculated for the two mines. The average annual effective dose was found to be 0.30 ± 0.06 mSv. The result was found to be within the levels published by other countries. The study provides a useful information and data for establishing a comprehensive framework to investigate other mines and develop guidelines for monitoring and control of NORMS in the mining industry and the environment as a whole in Ghana.

ASCI-ID: 1126-120