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Magyar cyanide protests over Rosia Montana

Published by MAC on 2004-06-08

Magyar cyanide protests

The Budapest Sun Online

8th June 2004

Thousands of Hungarians at home, in the US, Canada, the EU and Romania recently staged an international protest to raise awareness while demanding immediate intervention to prevent the launch of operations at Europe's largest open surface gold mine in mostly populated 'Hungarian' town of Rosia Montanã (aka Verespatak), in northwestern Romania.

Béla Lipták, spokesman for the Danube Environmental List said that the demonstration in the US took place recently at the New York City Donnel Library Center. Under recent international pressure Miklós Persányi, Minister of Environmental and Water Affairs, and his Romanian counterpart Speranta Ianculescu, have agreed to pay a visit to Rosia Montanã on June 11.

Richard Hill, CEO of the gold mining company SC Rosia Montanã Gold Corp (majority owned by the Canadian company Gabriel Resources Ltd) was unavailable for comment. Rosia Montanã is near to the controversial Baia Mare (aka Nagy Bánya) gold mine which spilled cyanide in January 2000 decimating the fauna and flora of the Tisza, Hungary's second longest river. The Hungarian Government sued Romania and the Australian mining company Esmeralda for damages.

In a separate development, environmental experts were recently bedazzled by the strong stench and thick white foam on the Rába river, flowing from Austria into western Hungary at Szentgotthárd. Gyula Hompasz, spokesman for the environmental supervision NDKF said the water was contaminated with Naphthalene Sulfonate, a chemical used in leather tanneries. Austria admitted fault, but it is unlikely Hungary will file for compensation, said Hompasz. Naphthalene Sulfonate is hazardous to the respiratory and blood systems.

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