|Asunto:||[LEA] ENVIRONMENT: Call for International Mining Standards to Protect|
|Fecha:||Domingo, 29 de Octubre, 2000 09:25:03 (-0400)|
|Autor:||anna ponte <anaponte @...net>
> Copyright 2000 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
> Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.
> *** 26-Oct-0* ***
>Title: ENVIRONMENT: Call for International Mining Standards to Protect
>By Danielle Knight
>WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (IPS) - Following January's cyanide spill in
>and new reports on mining disasters from China, environmentalists
>calling for governments worldwide to adopt international mining
>At issue is pollution caused by unstable ''tailings dams'' that
>effluents on mining sites. When these structures collapse, the
>including heavy metals and other harmful chemicals - contaminate
>''There are no international standards for such structures and
>time and again
>we have seen such disasters poison wildlife and destroy
>Stephen D'Esposito, president of the Mineral Policy Centre (MPC),
>group based here.
>He says wildlife along a tributary of the Danube river in Europe
>has still not
>recovered from a cyanide spill that resulted from the tailings dam
>the Baia-Mare gold mine in Northwestern Romania.
>The top of the dam overflowed and released an estimated 100,000
>metres of cyanide-laced wastewater within 11 hours. The cyanide
>waste from the
>gold smelter, half owned by the Australian corporation Esmeralda
>Ltd, was carried by the Tisza river through Hungary to Yugoslavia
>continued flowing down the Danube.
>United Nations experts investigating the spill said the cyanide
>thousands of fish in Hungary and Yugoslavia and was one of the
>pollution accidents in Europe.
>''I think we have to have much more strict rules in the mining
>countries of this region so this type of accident will not
>Haavisto, head of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Balkan
>Task Force told
>reporters in February at a news conference in Belgrade.
>Environmentalists compared the Romanian mining spill to when a
>dam at the Los Frailes zinc mine in southern Spain ruptured in
>April 1998 and
>released an estimated four to five million cubic metres of acid,
>tailings into a major river and over adjacent farmlands. Massive
>This week United Nations officials and representatives from 25
>meeting in Perth, Australia to participate in workshops of
>The stability of tailings dams is one of the main issues being
>''Workshops have examined the role of voluntary codes for the use
>cyanide in mining and emergency responses,'' said Klaus Toepfer,
>director of the UNEP.
>Last week another major tailings-dam failure was reported.
>Media reports from China said at least 15 people were killed in
>province when an embankment holding back mine waste collapsed.
>Associated Press reports, the collapse and subsequent wave of
>mud and stones buried or destroyed many buildings, including three
>The Beijing Post reported that the disaster occurred at a
>''This is another in a series of tailings-dam failures around the
>Since 1971, more than 30 major contamination spills on mining
>have been caused by failures in tailings dams, according to
>compiled by the World Information Service on Energy (WISE), an
>network of environmental activists.
>One of the more infamous tailings dam failures occurred in the
>country Guyana in 1995 which resulted in 4.2 million cubic metres
>toxic cyanide-laced mine waste released into the Essequibo River,
>According to the MPC, the spill killed fish, produced panic in
>seafood export market, and caused major problems for many
>residents who depend
>on the river for drinking water, fishing, irrigation, and
>sediment was reported as far as 80 kilometres down river.
>Guyana had no national environmental protection statute nor any
>mining regulations in place, according to MPC. The mining
>was governed by a contract between the government and the mine
>Canadian-based Cambior Inc.
>The nation's heavy economic dependence on the mine - which made up
>approximately 20 percent of Guyana's gross national product -
>incentive for the government to keep the mine operating despite
>environmental problems, argues MPC.
>The Guyanese government had relied on the company for most of its
>and technical expertise about the mine. Cambior maintained that
>dam was designed and constructed to meet ''North American
>By judging some tailings dam failures in the United States,
>say North America mines are not exactly models of how to protect
>environment and public health.
>Earlier this month in the southern US state of Kentucky, a
>failure at a coal mine operated by the Martin County Coal
>Corporation led to
>the release of 950,000 cubic metres of coal waste released into
>The dam broke as a result of the collapse of an underground mine
>According to local press reports, about 120 kilometres of rivers
>turned black, causing a fish kill. Some towns nearby were forced
>to turn off
>their drinking water intakes that drew water from the contaminated
>''How many rivers have to be contaminated before the world
>addresses unsafe mine-waste disposal?'' asks
> [c] 2000, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
> All rights reserved
> May not be reproduced, reprinted or posted to any system or
> service outside of the APC networks, without specific
> permission from IPS. This limitation includes distribution
> via Usenet News, bulletin board systems, mailing lists,
> print media and broadcast. For information about cross-
> posting, send a message to <wdesk@...>. For
> information about print or broadcast reproduction please
> contact the IPS coordinator at <online@...>.
Crea y administra tus propias listas de correo gratuitas, en español.