Greenpeace and FOE Hungary trigger the Espoo convention for the Rovina mine

17/06/2015 5763 views

The National Society of Conservation – Friends of the Earth Hungary together with Greenpeace Hungary ask the Hungarian Ministry of the Environment to initiate this procedure under the Espoo convention adopted in 1991. The same organizations successfully demanded in 2002 their government that the same mechanism is initiated for the Rosia Montana mining project.

Text of the letter:

08.06.2015 Budapest

National Society of Conservation – Friends of the Earth Hungary

Greenpeace Hungary

Subject: Initiation of the international Environmental Impact Assessment on the transboundary effects of the proposed gold mining project at Rovina

Dear Mr. Minister,

Hereby, the undersigned environmental organizations request the initiation of the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure, on the transboundary effects, according to the Espoo Convention, of the proposed gold mining project at Rovina, Romania.

As to our knowledge, a Canadian company received a new mining license in Romania. Samax Romania, a subsidiary of Carpathian Gold received a gold and copper mining license, for 20 years in the Rovina area, 20 km away from Rosia Montana. The new mining project proposes two open pit mines, with a diameter of 500-600 meters and depth of 300-400 meters each, thus exceeding even the dimensions of the proposed mine at Rosia Montana.

The region is already heavily polluted, being included as a hot spot on the list “Baia Mare Task Force”, an environmental program developed by the UN together with the European Union, after the disaster caused by the Baia Mare cyanide spill. The new mining project increases considerably the environmental risks in the region.

Although Carpathian Gold representatives declared that they will not use cyanide in the exploitation, but they will apply the flotation technology, after several consultations with Romanian NGOs, we consider there is a risk of cyanide usage in certain stages of the extraction process. This suspicion is supported by the fact that, seven years ago, the Canadian company researched and drilled in the area Füzérradvány Rudabánya, where they initiated the opening of a gold mine, but right after Hungary prohibited by law the use of cyanide in mining, they have abandoned the project.

Moreover, it is not excluded that, in the course of their mining operations, the rivers in the area will be polluted with heavy metals, as it happened at Baia Borsa, where the dam rupture had catastrophic consequences for the environment.

We believe that the planned investment at Rovina corresponds to at least three           categories listed in the Appendix I of the Espoo Convention:

  • 10. Waste-disposal installations for the incineration, chemical treatment or landfill of toxic and dangerous wastes.
  • 11. Large dams and reservoirs
  • 14. Major mining, on-site extraction and processing of metal ores or coal

Based on the reasons above, we hereby request the initiation of the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure, in a transboundary context, according to the Espoo convention, regarding the gold mining project proposed at Rovina, Romania.