30/05/2017 4955 views
28/04/2017 6611 views
The European Parliament insists on a cyanide ban in mining
28 April 2017 – In a strong vote with 566 in favor and 8 against the European Parliament has reiterated its call to the European Commission to ban the use of cyanide-based mining in the European Union as soon as possible.
The European Parliament yesterday voted a resolution on the implementation of the Mining Waste Directive (2006/21/EC). It regulates waste management in the extractive industries and was initially adopted eleven years ago, in consequence of the tragic cyanide accident at a gold mining processing site in Baia Mare/Romania in 2000.
The Mining Waste Directive and the way it is implemented by Member States has been the subject of a review carried out by the European Parliament’s environmental committee . Amongst others, it concluded that the practical implementation of the directive’s provisions is problematic. Importantly, there exist real practical problems with emergency plans (for Category A facilities), as well as with permits and inspections (for all types of facilities, including Category A ones). These two examples alone are extremely relevant since their non-application dramatically increases the risk of mining related activities to human and environmental health.
The resolution adopted by Parliament on 27 April 2017 also highlights the need to reduce the use of primary resources and to instead promote re-use and recycling in view of the EU’s transition to a circular economy.
“The mining waste directive came in consequence of the Baia Mare accident. Yesterday’s powerful vote is a confirmation that the directive is dangerously inefficient. If anything, it has been sheer luck rather than adequate safety measures that prevented new accidents. Human and environmental health however, shouldn’t be subjected to luck or chance and that’s why the European Parliament yesterday called on the Commission for a complete ban on the use of cyanide mining technologies in the European Union as soon as possible,” says Roxana Pencea-Bradatan from Mining Watch România.
“When refusing to ban cyanide-based mining previously, the European Commission pointed to the mining waste directive; arguing that it will prevent accidents. The report at the base of yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament once and for all confirms that this directive has been ineffective in this respect. There exist no more excuses not to act. Banning cyanide in mining is not only a responsible answer but also a duty in light of the European Parliament’s repeated demand,” concludes Stephanie Roth from the Save Rosia Montana! campaign.
Notes for editors:
 European Parliament resolution of 27 April 2017 on the implementation of the Mining Waste Directive (2006/21/EC) http://bit.ly/2oSEm27 and yesterday’s voting result (A8-0071/2017) http://bit.ly/2pCZcGP
31/03/2017 6039 views
Canada-based mining company Barrick Gold has recently admitted to yet another incident involving the Veladero mine. This time, company representatives reported that yesterday a pipe transporting gold and rocks ruptured, spilling its content in the San Juan Province.
Although this registers at a lesser magnitude, this is the third incident the company has had in the last year and a half, and prompting environmental organizations to reiterate their requests to have the government — both at the national or provincial levels — to foreclose the mine, arguing the company is violating Argentina’s 2010 glacier protection law by operating on periglacial ground.
“There are no more excuses, we demand the Veladero be closed immediately. We are demanding the governments [provincial and nationals] do this, but we will also go to the courts to make it happen,” representative of “Jáchal No Se Toca” organization leader Enrique Viale told Infobae.
In September 2015, the company caused the largest environmental disaster in Argentine history, when it spilled over a million liters of cyanide solution in different rivers of the province that are close to the mine. A year later, Barrick had to suspend its operations in another one of its mines, called Pascual Lama, after admitting to a new spill of toxic water onto land within San Juan. As a result of this, it had to shut down a bi-national tunnel it set up to transport rocks from Chile to Argentina, also due to polluting “peri-glacial ground.”
Despite all of this, the company’s authorities continue to downplay the incidents. In an interview with a TV show from San Juan, the Veladero mine’s General Manager said that “the only important environmental accident, which was a spill, was the one from 2015 and it had no environmental consequences.”
“What happened last year, in contrast, was an extremely minor issue which was handled very poorly by the company,” he said.
The residents of the Jáchal district, located close to the mine, begged to differ. after the news of the second spill surfaced, thousands of people gathered in the city square to protest against the multinational mining company. After burning car tires and holding banners for an hour, they chased officials and attacked Mayor Mario Vega, who had to seek shelter in a police station.
Back then, San Juan Governor Sergio Uñac warned the company “what you’ve done already is more than enough.” From now on, their performance has to be flawless, and I’ve told them so,” he said. Only time will tell if this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
— Mining Magazine (@MiningMagazine) March 31, 2017
Source: The Bubble
24/11/2016 3611 views
31/08/2016 5569 views
03/02/2016 4095 views
Today the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of Europe begin negotiations about proposed regulations to tackle the trade of conflict minerals. Civil society organisations are backing a proposal (passed last May by the European Parliament), calling for a mandatory due diligence system for the industries which use raw materials from conflict and high-risk areas. “The companies are responsible for checking their supply chains and taking measures to prevent the financing of armed conflicts and human rights violations“, explained Anna Backmann on behalf of the Stop Mad Mining campaign.
“The European Parliament has already made a strong statement which the member states and the Commission cannot ignore”, emphasized Michael Reckordt of PowerShift. In May 2015 the Parliament expressed their support for a mandatory due diligence scheme applying to smelters, importers of metals and the ‘downstream industry’ – those which use the metals in their products. “Only if the entire supply chain is included in the regulation, can European consumers be sure they are not unintentionally supporting violent conflicts in the world with when buying phones, laptops, computers or cars“, added Anna Backmann.
“Nowadays, even China is putting into practice the OECD due diligence standards. They are doing it voluntary, but for the complete supply chain. It is ridiculous, if this process results in Europe falling behind China on a key human rights issue”, said Michael Reckordt.
Some EU member states support stringent mandatory regulation. Sweden and Germany, for example, publicly announced their support for a mandatory reporting requirements. Also, some European multinational corporations, e.g. Telenor – a Norwegian telecommunication company – and Novo Nordisk – a Danish pharmaceutical company, pronounced their support for mandatory regulation.
The “Stop Mad Mining Campaign” supports mandatory due diligence regulation to ensure all companies importing ores, metals and products containing these materials into Europe, check their supply chains. The extraction of raw materials contained in our consumer goods is often linked to environment destruction, human rights violations, and the financing of armed conflict. Gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten (3TG) are mined in conflict-affected areas of the DRC, Central African Republic, Myanmar and Colombia, but also in other conflict-affected and high-risk areas worldwide. They make their way into the phones, laptops and cars that EU citizens buy every day.
It is for that reason, that in a huge step forward, members of the European Parliament voted on 20 May for a strong and binding regulation that would require companies bringing 3TG products into the EU — in any form — to source them more responsible. However, the final legislation will be decided in an ongoing ‘trilogue’ negotiation between the European Parliament, the EU Commission, and representatives of Member States.
Stop Mad Mining partners have launched a petition calling upon their Member States to match Parliament’s commitment to break the link between conflict financing and metal sourcing, by supporting binding due diligence requirements that could have a real and positive impact on the trade in minerals, and on the violence and harm associated with mining in some of the world’s poorest areas.
For more details, with petition text, see: http://stop-mad-mining.org
15/01/2016 4784 views
Eldorado Gold suspends the development of the copper and gold mine in Skouries, Greece. They also announced the possible closedown of activities at Olympias (the underground mine held in the same Halkidiki region), should the Greek government not issue the permits requested. The news generated a wave of mistrust in the company’s ability to develop their mining projects in the European Union, which entailed a rapid 19% drop in its shares at the stock exchange.
This low-cost company, known for the projects developed in countries where other mining operators failed, is heavily challenged. They have to justify before investors the loss of more than 300 million dollars, the amount spent in Skouries so far. The decision to suspend activity could no longer be avoided as the issuance of a construction permit which would have allowed the completion of the processing plant is still pending. The mining project at Skouries faced from the very beginning opposition from the local community, who sees the mine as a direct threat upon water resources in Halkidiki peninsula, the third most popular tourism destination in the country.
These new financial difficulties come on top of the financial losses incurred in 2015 with the projects held in the European Union. Eldorado develops the Certej project in Romania, currently under the permitting stage, an investment at the limit of profitability. In June 2015 Eldorado Gold notified their shareholders on the impairment of the mining project at Certej as a result of the depreciation of equipment and land purchased with the Certej mine. The loss of about 250 million dollars was announced based on a reevaluation of the assets acquired, while the mining operator had to publicly admit that their market value is much lower. On the other hand the company had to pay $63.5 million related to an increase in the corporate income tax rate in Greece.
All these financial losses occur in the context of very low trading prices for copper and gold on the world market. “Considering that the good’s price on the market is significantly lower than its production cost, it will be very difficult for Eldorado to obtain funding for developing new mines – either in Greece or in Romania”, said Roxana Pencea, Campaign Manager at Mining Watch Romania.
Following Eldorado’s announcement, the Greek Minister of the environment, Panos Skourletis said: “The Government will not be blackmailed. The decisions it makes are based on the public interest and environmental protection and will be taken after studying all data.” At the same time the minister fined Hellas Gold with 1.7 million Euro for a total of 21 breaches of environmental protection regulations (for offences committed between 2012-2014)”.
“In their decision to invest in these mining projects Eldorado Gold has constantly ignored the local community and Greek laws. By forcing the implementation of this project against the will of local people, Eldorado undertook the political risk that their projects would be rejected one day. Their ease in risking investors’ money in this case should be a strong alarm signal for all those who fund the opening of new gold mines in Europe”, said Maria Kadoglou from Hellenic Mining Watch.
- Skouries is the largest of the three mining perimeters called ‘Cassandra mines’. These were transferred in 2003 from TVX Hellas SA to the Greek state, for 11 million Euros. On the same day they were sold, without any public bid, at the same price, to Hellas Gold SA. Now 95% of Hellas Gold is held by Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD), a Canadian company with projects in Romania, Turkey, Brazil and China.
- The gold mine at Certej would be the first cyanide gold mining operation opened in Romania. The mining project is held by Eldorado Gold through its subsidiary Deva Gold. The first construction permit for Certej mine was declared illegal and cancelled in court. The project footprint has 456.2 ha, currently covered by forests, pastures, agricultural land and residential areas. A significant part of the project is located in the Natura 2000 site – ROSPA 0132 Metaliferi Mountains. The mine, having an estimated annual output of 3 million tonnes, requires deforestation of 187 ha to locate two open pit mines and two tailings dams. The tailings dams, with 169 m high and 70 m high rockfill dams respectively, are an additional issue of concern as they will be located in the close vicinity of several densely populated villages.
16/11/2015 5155 views