Janos Ader – Photo: wikipedia

Ader slams EC for failing to ban use of cyanide in mining

Although the European Parliament has adopted a resolution banning the use of cyanide in ore mining, the European Commission has failed to implement it, keeping a cheap but extremely polluting practice in place, former president Janos Ader told public radio on Monday.

In the interview with Kossuth Radio, Ader pointed to an ecological disaster when on this day 23 years ago a dam at a Romanian gold mine had collapsed and spilled 100,000 cubic metres of lethal cyanide and heavy metals into rivers flowing to Hungary. River Szamos contained 320 times the approved amount of cyanide at the time, he said.

“Thanks to a masterstroke of Hungarian experts”, 93 percent of the Tisza, 13 backwaters and underground reserves were kept clean, Ader said. While it claimed no human lives, much of wildlife was wiped out and tourism has suffered, he said.

A subsequent lawsuit awarded Hungary damages, but the company declared insolvency and the Romanian state failed to step up, so the EU principle of the polluters paying for damages caused did not help Hungary, he said.

Ader called for a review of the relevant legislation to make member states liable for similar pollutions.

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