Cyanide spillage blamed on mining company

Wednesday, 19 April, 2000

A United Nations report has blamed an Australian-owned mining company in Romania for the accident last January which released cyanide into the river Tisza.

The poison spread through the Danube river system, killing thousands of tons of fish in Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia.

The UN team, which spent two weeks investigating the spillage, blames poor design and operating conditions.

It says a dam at the mine did not have enough storage capacity to cope with a sudden rise in water level.

Although the company's emergency plans were rudimentary, it took reasonable steps to respond to the spillage, and the affected countries took quick action to reduce its impact.

The UN report warns of future health risks from chronic pollution, but says the immediate danger is minimal.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

Original article
UN Global Environment Monitoring
Environment News Service