Australia - Miner faces fine over 'catastrophic' contamination : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This article follows on from earlier posts by Carl on contamination in Hungary/Romania


Miner faces fine over 'catastrophic' contamination
From AAP

10.30am (AEDT) AN Australian mining company could face international legal action for compensation following claims of "catastrophic" poisoning of rivers in Hungary by a joint venture gold mine in neighbouring Romania.

The Baia Mare gold tailings project, 50 per cent owned by Perth-based Esmeralda Exploration, is being blamed for spilling cyanide into rivers flowing into Hungary, killing fish and poisoning drinking water to around 2.5 million people. "The cyanide pollution that originated in Romania has caused an extremely serious environmental catastrophe in the Hungarian section of the Tisza river," said Hungarian foreign ministry deputy state secretary, Gabor Bagi.

Hungary banned fishing and all contact with water from the Somes and Tisza rivers last week after a leak from the Baia Mare mine, of which Romanian state-owned companies own the other half.

"Hungary's Foreign Ministry ... will make all the possible diplomatic and legal steps to enforce Hungarian compensation demands," ministry spokesman Gabor Horvath said journalists in Budapest.

Bagi conveyed this message to Romania's ambassador to Budapest, Petru Cordos, he said.

The poison killed all animal life in the Hungarian section of the Somes river and killed tonnes of fish when it contaminated Hungary's second largest river, the Tisza, water protection authorities said.

"Imagine a carpet over the river surface which is made up of the dead bodies of fish," Mr Horvath told ABC radio.

"Some of them which are rare and unique to that part of this waterway are forever exterminated."

He said the rivers provided drinking water to about 2.5 million people in nearby cities, towns and villages.

"This is the first most serious environment catastrophe in the 21st century and we will use international public law as well as international private law to seek and claim restitution for whatever damage has been done to my beautiful country," he said.

Meanwhile, Hungarian officials said a second cyanide leak into the Somes river, a subsidiary of Hungary's second-largest, Tisza, had been confirmed to have occurred on Sunday, although it was not as large as last week's.

"The amount and cyanide contents of the residue let in the Somes on Sunday was much smaller than last week," environment ministry department head Pal Fehervari told a news conference.

The poisons continued to flow downstream, although it was being progressively diluted. By today it had reached the central town of Szolnok, authorities said.

Emergency services continued to block the Tisza with barges at the northern village of Tokaj to remove the dead fish from the water, they said.

The Tisza flows into the Danube in Yugoslavia.

Experts said the technique used in the Romanian mine, using a cyanide solution to dilute the ore, had been banned in the European Union.

After years of negotiations and delays forced by bad weather, Esmeralda began construction work on the $US28 million ($44 million) Baia Mare gold tailings treatment project in northern Romania in October 1997.

The first gold was produced in April last year, according to Esmeralda's company website.

The plant is expected to produce 50,000 ounces of gold and 250,000 ounces of silver per annum.


Senator Bob Brown, Greens Party, Tasmania, was interviewed on radio this afternoon regarding this very sad contamination. He drew a precedent comparison between Australian pedophilia laws application to overseas conduct of Australian individuals and the environmental pollution conduct of Australian companies overseas. He believes this company may be prosecuted under Australian protection of environment legislation. And so the beat goes on...Stock market trading suspended this afternoon re company....awaiting further press release...

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (, February 09, 2000


---this is the big serious thing I have against hoarding gold. Yes, gold is recognized for zillions of years as money, but all the easy gold is long ago dug up and refined. Now, it takes some serious nasty chemicals, and every place gold is mined there's pollution, no matter what the pollution pollys say. No easy answer. I know some bungholes here in georgia who go about willy nilly using all sorts of nasty chemicals in their hobby gold picking. I always give em a lecture, too, ask them what gives them the right to pollute everyones water, so they can score some gold on the weekends. And the dredgers and panners always say "we don't pollute". I tell em BS, you cause massive "siltration", it stops oxygenation in the water, raises the water temp, and kills fish constantly. So, no easy answer. I hold no gold, although I recognize it's worth. I hold real products and "stuff" as my inflation hedge, that's it, and even then I wish I could get products that I need without the massive pollution involved in the process. Rock and a hard place, but gold is particularly nasty to extract anymore, just about anyplace. It's impossible to have technology without pollution, can't be done in 99.99999% of the time. And there's another little tidbit, no way in heck can every one on the planet have a motor vehicle, using fossil fuel, can't be done, there isn't enough air. So, that's why I think the globalists are out to decimate the planet somehow, get it down to about 1/2 a billion people. Still enough population so that the big boys can be masters over the other slaves,same as now. They are working on getting rid of the 5.5 billion "surplus" right now, various means. It'll happen, too, way things are going.

-- zog (, February 09, 2000.

well said zog.

-- number six (, February 09, 2000.

Fines? There should be a criminal investigation.

-- Mara (, February 09, 2000.

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