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Minister calls Romania's gold mine risky venture

Hungary maintains its position that the gold mine planned to be opened in Rosia Montana, west Romania, would pose a major risk to the environment, Minister of Environment Miklós Persányi told Romanian Ambassador in Budapest Ireny Comaroschi on Tuesday. The minister appreciated that Romania, in line with the related international agreement, supported the environmental impact study initiated by Hungary. Once opened, the precious metals mine will use an environmentally hazardous cyanide leaching technology to extract over 300 tonnes of gold and 1,600 tonnes of silver. The project has triggered strong protest in Hungary as another Romanian gold mine using a similar technology near Baia Mare (Nagybánya), in north-west Romania, caused an environmental disaster, wiping out wildlife along Hungary's eastern waterways in 2000. Persányi said it would be better even for Romania if the project were never realized. He said Hungary would like to prevent transboundary environmental effects and another cyanide catastrophe like the one caused by the Baia Mare mine. The ambassador, who initiated the meeting to discuss bilateral environmental cooperation, said the environmental impact study had not yet been completed so the Romanian government had not yet adopted a position on the project. The ambassador said the Romanian government would organise public hearings to get acquainted with the position of all parties concerned. One of the hearings will take place in Szeged, south-east Hungary, in late August, she said. Previous tests showed that pollution in the rivers is far higher than any set numbers in the regulations. During a UN mission they found foe example cyan in the lake Aurul 6-800 times more than the limit number, which is 100 in Hungary, but 25 and 10 in river Rhone ant in Romania. (MTI,