Romanian gold mine impact study censored

Analysis

An environmental impact study prepared for a planned gold mine in Romania which uses a controversial cyanide leeching technology was censored, said national daily Népszabadság on Wednesday. The Canadian-Romanian company insists that unlike the Aurul gold mine in the northwestern city of Baia Mare (Nagybánya), which leaked cyanide into local waterways in 2000, resulting in an environmental disaster in Hungary, the new Rosia Montana (Verespatak) mine in western Romania would contain safeguards such as a facility to reduce the concentration of cyanide to below EU-permitted limits. But independent experts told the paper that public hearings and expert consultations held in both Hungary and Romania over the past few weeks into the environmental and conservation aspects of what would become the biggest gold mine in Europe were based on an invalid document. This, they said, raised serious legal questions. Rosia Montana Gold Corporation said they had edited the study because they were told original document did not conform to the Bucharest environment ministry's formal requirements. The compilers of the original study said however that the editors of the final document, who were not experts, should not have overruled the opinions regarding the management of the cultural heritage conservation aspects of the project. Moreover, the final edition contained provisions which exclusively favored the mine's owners, they charged. (Mti-Eco)

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