Thursday, 27 May 2010

MEP Watch - The Ban Of Cyanide Mining In The EU

Cyanide mining is a mining technique by which gold is extracted from low-grade ore. It is a very common process for gold extraction. Cyanide is a highly toxic chemical and cyanide spills can have devastating effects on water bodies because it can kill several wildlife. Many countries and US States have banned this practice. It was time for the EU to follow suit.

It is interesting to note that it requires one tonne of ore to produce two grams of gold, leaving enormous amounts of waste.

The EU, in a vote for a motion for a resolution on the 28th of April, has called for a ban on cyanide mining. It recognized the irreversible health effects of cyanide mining and the cross-border effects that cyanide pollution might have especially on water bodies and especially on the Danube river which has been the centre of attention for its dire need of cleaning. It also recognizes that alternatives to cyanide mining do exist.

In light of the above considerations the EU called for the BANNING of cyanide mining before the end of 2011 so that it won’t pollute the water bodies. It also called for the proposal of an amendment to existing legislation so that waste from extractive industries is taken care of by the operating company which should take insurance to cover compensation for damage and all remedial costs incurred in restoring the site to its original ecological and chemical status in the event of an accident or malfunction.

This proposal was met with huge resistance by Romanians. They complained that their country was being singled-out as the ban calls for the banning of any forthcoming projects and Romania has a 22-billion-dollar gold mine in the pipeline. There was a desperate bid to salvage the business hopes by the Romanians as they tabled an amendment for an EU-wide assessment before the ban is considered. This amendment was turned down.

One of the main countries opposing Romania’s position was Hungary. Their staunch support of the ban stems from the Romanian Baia Mare disaster in 2000 which had a severe ecological impact on Hungarian territory.

Simon Busuttil, Louis Grech and Edward Scicluna voted in favor of the motion. David Casa and John Attard Montalto didn’t vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment