MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Hungary Submits 60 Questions on Romania Gold Mine

Published by MAC on 2005-03-03


Hungary Submits 60 Questions on Romania Gold Mine

Planet Ark

March 3, 2005

Budapest - The Hungarian government has asked the Canadian company planning to set up Europe's biggest open-cast gold mine in Romania for a series of environmental, technological and archaeological checks.

Romania's new government asked Canada's Gabriel Resources in January to submit an environmental impact study before a licence can be granted for the project, which had come under fire from Hungary as well as rights groups and environmentalists.

In January Bucharest asked Hungary, which fears the cyanide used to extract gold could contaminate its rivers, to take part in the process, and now the Hungarian Environment Ministry submitted 60 questions to Bucharest it wants Gabriel to answer.

"Hungary asks, amongst others, that the impact assessment documentation should analyse in detail all activities which could cause an environmental effect across the border," the ministry said on its www.ktm.hu website.

Hungary had asked Bucharest to stop the project fearing a repeat of Romania's deadly gold mine cyanide spill in 2000 that devastated a network of rivers including the Tisza, which flows through Hungary and has tributaries in Romania.

Hungary proposed on Tuesday that the impact study should detail the toxic substances used, contingency plans for emergencies, the effect on waters, natural parks and the local ecosystem.

It also asked Gabriel to design alternative methods for running the Rosia Montana mine.

Gabriel has said a complex permissioning process and the slow relocation of one village at the mine's site could delay the launch of the mine until 2006.

Newmont Mining Corp of the US, the world's biggest gold producer, owns more than 10 percent of Gabriel.

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