Cyanide Mining

On January 30, 2000, Aural Gold Plant, in Romania, spilled an estimated 3.5 million cubic feet of cyanide-contaminated waste into the Tisza River, eventually poisoning the Danube and infecting over 250 miles of rivers in Romania, Hungary, and Yugoslavia.The spill was described by Hungarian officials as "Europe's worst environmental disaster since the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl."The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, February 15, 2000, that "The cyanide spilled when heavy snow and winter rain caused holding basin[s] to overflow at the mine in northwestern Romania on the border with Hungary."A representative from Esmeralda Exploration Ltd., the Australian co-owner of the Aural Gold Plant, claimed that estimates of the damage were "grossly exaggerated" while the Serbian minister offorestry and water resources warned riverside residents east of Belgrade to "not use the water for anything."It is unknown exactly how much damage the Aural Gold spill caused to the Tisza river system, though Branislav Blazic, environment minister of Serbia, commented that "the Tisza is dead."This example so thoroughly denounces the safety of cyanide mining that it seems absurd that Montanans would even consider reversing the decision of I-137 and allow more cyanide to be carelessly dumped into Montana's waterways.
It is not a far-fetched idea that allowing cyanide mining back into Montana will result in spills of contaminated waste given the cyanide mining industry's track record.At the Zortman-Landusky Mine 52,000 gallons of cyanide solution spilled over the course of the mine's operation, poisoning the freshwater supply of Zortman, Montana.A truck carrying 2 tons of sodium cyanide crashed into the Barskoon River in Kyrgystan at the Kumtor Gold Mine causing 2600 reported poisonings and four deaths. The Cyanide Leach Mining Packet, published by D.C. based Mineral…

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