43 years since the Certej gold mine dam failure

30/10/2014 4986 views

On the 30th of November, 43 years ago, 89 people from Certeju de Sus died in a mining acceident considered to be the greatest peace time tragedy of the seventies In Romania. The dam of a tailings pond broke, early in the morning and the tragedy was hidden by the Communist authorities from the general public. Nowadays, in the same village, Eldorado Gold plans to open a new mine that uses the same technology. This time two tailings ponds are planned with a total of three dams. The one that broke in 1971 was 25-27 meters high, while the three planned structures are 169, 70 and 39 meters high. The dams will be built in the same manner as the one that failed: piling up rocks as the level of waste rises. Works in the open pit area of the project started this autumn, lacking proper permitting and with the complicity of highly intransparent authorities.

With the occasion of the 43rd commemoration of the accident, Mining Watch Romania sent a letter to Korodi Attila, the Romanian minister for the environment, asking for the securities, if any, supplied by the company in case of a mining accident. Insurance in case of accidents is mandatory to be secured before gold exploitation starts. Downstream from the two ponds planned, the village of Hondol is home to 500 inhabitants that will live under the 169 meters high dam.

The Certej deposit is part of the Canadian low-cost gold producer Eldorado Gold (TXS:ELD) assets in Romania. Deva Gold S.A. is a joint venture between Eldorado Gold (80%) and state-owned Minvest Deva (~20%).