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Romania’s Cyanide Spill


“The Baia Mare gold mine in Romania spills more than thirty-four million gallons of cyanide into the Lupes, Somes, Tisza, and Danube Rivers. The spill decimates aquatic and plant life for dozens of miles, affecting local fishing industries and impeding access to drinking water for residents of Serbia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria for several months. In 2001, Hungary sues the mining company, a joint Australian-Romanian venture named Aurul, for roughly $200 million in damages to fisheries. A few months after the incident, mining resumes, but in 2005 a European Union judge bans mining on 85 percent of the site pending further investigation. Efforts to ban the use of cyanide in mining in Romania are repeatedly blocked. In 2010, the European Parliament proposes banning cyanide use in mining across the EU, but the ban is never implemented [PDF] by the European Commission.” Council on Foreign Relations

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