MAC: Mines and Communities

Campaign to Ban Cyanide in Latin America launched

Published by MAC on 2010-06-04
Source: OCMAL

Following action of the European Parliament in passing a resolution proposing for a complete ban on the use of cyanide in mining within the EU (see:, a similar campaign is launched in Latin America.



The Observatory of Mining Conflicts of Latin America (OCMAL) launched its "Campaign to Ban Cyanide in Latin America"


24 May 2010

Civil society organisations, trade organisations and unions, communities, academics and governments are being called on to strive for the banning of the use of cyanide in mining activities throughout Latin America, based on the information that accompanies this campaign launch.

Main activities of the campaign:

1. - Document, in each country, mining sites and projects that are in development, or at the planning stage, that contemplate the use of sodium cyanide

2. - Document accidents and contamination incidents of cyanide used in mining .

3. - Complaints of risky situations that use cyanide in mining

4. - Document legislation of cyanide management and transportation.

5. - Preparation of draft legislation for the elimination of cyanide use for mining in each country

Reasons to support the campaign to ban cyanide in Latin America

A- Cyanide is a chemical element that is highly dangerous for the ecosystems and populations exposed to it.

B - Sodium cyanide used in the leaching processes of gold and silver is even more dangerous. An amount of cyanide the soze of a a grain of rice can kill a person.

C - In the course of a mining operation, not all of the sodium cyanide used degrades completely or safely, and it can change its chemical composition making it difficult to detect.

D - The degradation of cyanide, depending on certain conditions, may take an indefinite period of time upholding a latent risk of contamination for the long term.

E - Many of the accidents involving cyanide spills have had fatal consequences for ecosystems and the exposed populations.

F - The roads by which cyanide is transported to mining sites, especially those located in high altitudes or in remote areas of moorland and jungle, increase the risk of accidents and environmental disasters.

G - Contingency measures against accidents, spills and sodium cyanide poisoning have proven insufficient and remedy measures do not consider the extent of damages.

H - The effects of sodium cyanide contamination are often irreversible


For background information that support the campaign see:

To join the campaign click here

For further information contact: Coordinación OCMAL

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