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Prospecting For Iron and Titanium Using Termitaria

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Prospecting For Iron and Titanium Using Termitaria

Mining activities begin with mineral prospecting and exploration, which can be quite expensive. A number of mineral prospecting methods are known sand include excavation of soil for analysis, phyto-prospecting and hydrogeochemical prospecting among others. Ants and termites are known to burrow up to 55 meters to water tables. In the process, they bring up debris, which may contain traces of minerals in mineralized areas. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of anthill and termite mould soil samples can be used as preliminary tests for prospects of finding a given mineral. Termitaria sampling has been used in other parts of the world like Australia, India and Ghana. This study sought to find out whether there are significant levels of iron and titanium in anthill soil samples compared to top soil samples from Kwale, Kathwana and Kithiori, which are mineralized areas in Kenya. Flame atomic absorption spectroscopy was used to determine the metals under stud y after acid digestion. The control samples had lower concentrations of iron for all the three areas; 20.63±0.09mg/g compared to mean concentration of anthill of 25.3±0.06 mg/g at Kwale, 90.53±0.00 mg/g compared to 98.53±0.29 in Kathwana and 82.63±0.22 mg/g compared to 89.46±0.00 at Kithiori. Titanium content in termitaria samples was higher than control for all the three areas; 14.94±0.24 mg/g compared to 14.72±0.00 mg/g at Kwale, 18.47±0.03 mg/g compared to 15.93±0.03 mg/g at Kithiori at Kathwana. These results demonstrated the potential for use of termitaria soil sampling in mineral prospecting. For conclusive results of iron and titanium mineralization, multimedia sampling is recommended.
Keywords: Termitaria, Mineral Prospecting, Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
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